On ‘GMA’, embattled ‘Bachelor’ host Chris Harrison speaks out: “This franchise can be a beacon of change”

(LOS ANGELES) — In an exclusive interview with Michael Strahan on ABC’s Good Morning America Thursday, embattled Bachelor host Chris Harrison addressed the comments he made defending current Bachelor contestant and front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell.

Kirkconnell’s past social media posts showed her “liking” a photo containing a Confederate flag, as well as photos of her attending an “Old South” plantation-themed party in 2018.

Harrison found himself in hot water when, in a February 9 interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra, he claimed that Kirkconnell was a victim of cancel culture.

When Lindsay said Kirkconnell’s 2018 photos at an Old South Antebellum party weren’t a “good look,” Harrison responded, “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”

Following those comments, Harrison announced he was “stepping away” from the show.  In his interview with GMA, he walked back the comments, saying, “Antebellum parties are not O.K. Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable.”

Harrison said he’s also apologized to Lindsay, who in recent weeks has deactivated her Instagram account due to intense harassment and bullying. Harrison urged people to stop bullying her, and added, “I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community.”

Harrison says he’s been seeking guidance since the whole controversy unfolded from “leading scholars, teachers, faith leaders,” and has been “learning from them, listening, gaining experience, knowledge and moving forward.”

As for The Bachelor franchise and its spin-offs, Harrison says, “I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change.”

“This interview is not the finish line,” he added. “There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”

By Carson Blackwelder and Hayley FitzPatrick
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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