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“Bachelor” host Chris Harrison issued an apology Wednesday for controversial comments made in a recent interview, admitting he spoke “in a manner that perpetuates racism.”
Harrison, 49, came under fire earlier this week after saying fans should offer contestant Rachael Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding” amid accusations she allegedly “liked” racially insensitive social media posts and was photographed at a plantation-themed party while in school at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
“To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology,” Harrison began on Instagram. “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,” he 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 sorry.”
Harrison came to Kirkconnell’s defense during an interview with “Extra” co-host Rachel Lindsay, who was the first black “Bachelorette” in franchise history. Kirkconnell, 24, is reportedly a frontrunner on current “Bachelor” Matt James’ season.
“I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, and that’s it, boom. This girl is in this book now, and she’s now in this group, and I’m like, really?” Harrison said during the interview.
“Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party,” Lindsay replied. “That’s not a good look.”
Harrison then responded, “Is it [not] a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021?”
“It’s not a good look ever, cause she’s celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?” Lindsay stated.
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He continued, “My guess, these girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were 18 years old. Now does it make it OK? I don’t know, Rachel, you tell me, but where is this lens we’re holding up, and was that lens available, and were we all looking through it in 2018? I don’t know. I don’t have these answers.”
Lindsay responded “that’s the problem” with a party like that.
“You’re right, we weren’t looking through those lenses, and we should have been, and just cause it was a popular party, and just cause it’s a popular party, doesn’t necessarily make it right,” she said.
Harrison, who has hosted “The Bachelor” since 2002, also apologized to Lindsay on Wednesday for his remarks.