The Bachelor host Chris Harrison has spoken out for the first time since stepping aside from the franchise last month over his comments ‘perpetuating racism’.
Appearing on Thursday’s Good Morning America, he explained to co-host Michael Strahan that his defense of front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell, whose past racially insensitive social media posts showed her ‘liking’ photos containing a Confederate flag and MAGA hats, as well as attending an ‘Old South’ plantation-themed fraternity party in 2018.
Chris, 49, stated: ‘I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that.
‘I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it.’
Present Michael then asked Chris about some of the specific comments he made during his shocking interview with Rachel Linsday – the first-ever Black lead on the Bachelorette – in which he claimed Rachael’s actions were okay because they happened in 2018.
He said at the time: ‘Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.’
Addressing the comments with Michael, Chris stated: ‘Antebellum parties are not OK. Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable.’
He continued: ‘I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I can’t believe I didn’t speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for.
‘I didn’t say it then and I want to say it now: those parties are not OK, past, present, future. And I didn’t speak from my heart. And that is to say that I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community.’
The long-time host explained that he had apologized to Rachel Lindsay before commenting on the fact she has had to deactivate her Instagram account due to abuse from Bachelor fans trying to defend him.
‘To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop,’ he pleaded. ‘It’s unacceptable.’
The presenter revealed he has been seeking guidance from ‘leading scholars, teacher and faith leaders’ as he tried to grow from the situation.
He added: ‘[Dr. Michael Eric Dyson] often talks to me about council. Not cancel, and that is full accountability, understanding what you didn’t understand, owning that, learning from that, seeking counsel often in the community that you hurt, learning from them, listening, gaining experience, knowledge and moving forward.’
The Bachelor host confirmed that he hoped to return to the franchise as he stressed: ‘I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change.
‘I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress.’
He concluded: ‘This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.’
The Bachelor airs on Mondays on ABC.
Credit: Original article published here.