Chris Harrison wants the world to know he’s “deeply sorry” for “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.” Harrison appeared on Extra February 9 to speak with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay after photos of Rachael Kirkconnell attending an “Old South” party at the University of Georgia resurfaced. (Kirkconnell is a contestant on Matt James‘s season of The Bachelor.)
During the interview with Lindsay, instead of saying that participating in a party that romanticizes the racist South is unacceptable, he asked for people to show Kirkconnell “grace.” It’s important to point out that Lindsay was the first Black lead in the Bachelor franchise. After the people’s understandable backlash, Harrison is extending a “sincere apology” to fans.
“To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology,” he wrote in an Instagram post on February 10. “I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday, I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf.”
Chris Harrison continued, “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has firsthand 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.”
Kirkconnell has yet to address the controversy. Considering the fact she is considered a frontrunner on the show, it’s expected that she will also make a statement. The real question is whether or not ABC will acknowledge casting someone with a racist history.