Will you accept this groveling man trying to get his job back by doing the bare minimum? Less than a month after temporarily stepping aside as Bachelor franchise host due to excusing historical racism, Chris Harrison began his apology tour on Thursday with a Good Morning America interview. Speaking with Michael Strahan, Harrison said that he now believes antebellum-themed parties are “unacceptable” in any context, and he was previously wrong by perpetuating racism to defend them. “I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that,” he explained. “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.” Harrison is also “saddened and shocked” by how he behaved to former Bachelorette lead Rachel Lindsay, who was interviewing Harrison for Extra when he made his contentious comments.
“I can’t believe I didn’t speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for,” Harrison continued. “I didn’t say it then and I want to say it now: those parties are not okay, 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. To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It’s unacceptable.”
With Harrison being replaced by Emmanuel Acho for The Bachelor’s “After the Final Rose” episode, he confirmed that he has no intention of making his hosting break a permanent one. However, ABC has yet to clarify Harrison’s future. “I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change,” he explained. “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. 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.” At the conclusion of the pre-taped interview, Strahan remarked to his GMA colleagues that he thought Harrison’s apology was “nothing more than a surface response” and “he’s a man who clearly wants to stay on the show.”
The controversy with Harrison began in February, when, during the aforementioned Extra interview with Lindsay, he defended the offensive and racist past of current Bachelor frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell, which included Kirkconnell’s attendance at an Old South antebellum party. Harrison apologized for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” prior to taking an official leave of absence from the franchise.