Rachel Lindsay commended “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison Monday for temporarily stepping away from “The Bachelor” franchise following his defense of a current contestant in a way that “perpetuates racism” during an interview with Lindsay. However, the first black star of the “Bachelorette” isn’t sure if Harrison’s steps to make amends mean he should remain host of the ABC reality dating franchise.
“I think you have to see what happens,” Lindsay told her “Extra” colleague Billy Bush in an interview Monday. “I think I don’t want to play into things too quick to judge someone, right? Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Do I agree with what happened in that interview? No. But at the same time, he has taken the steps to not issue one, but two apologies. Let’s see what happens from there. Now I will say this, to see the contestants come together and speak out and to say what they don’t stand for, I don’t know how we continue in this way. How do you when people in Bachelor Nation are upset, the contestants of this very show, the leads of this show? How does he go on to represent the franchise when people are so upset by what they saw in that interview that we have?”
Last Tuesday, Harrison defended Rachael Kirkconnell — a frontrunner on Matt James’ currently airing season of “The Bachelor,” the first to feature a Black bachelor — for a resurfaced photo in which she appears to be attending a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018, and posts where she shared QAnon conspiracy theories and “liked” Confederate flag-related TikToks, saying there was need for “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” in regards to Kirkconnell.
On Wednesday, he issued an apology for his remarks, and specifically to Lindsay: “I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.”
Harrison shared his second apology Saturday, in which he said he would be “stepping aside” temporarily from the “Bachelor” franchise — meaning he will not be hosting James’ “After the Final Rose” special, though the rest of the season has already been taped — and is “dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”
ABC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on who will be replacing Harrison on “After the Final Rose.”
“Just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same,” Harrison said in a statement posted on Instagram Saturday.
“The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special,” Harrison said. “I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”
James previously gave his own thoughts on the criticism of Kirkconnell in an interview with Entertainment Tonight in early February, saying, “Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully, she will have her time to speak on that.”