Chris Harrison is speaking out for the first time since stepping down from hosting duties on “The Bachelor” last month in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America” airing Thursday.
Chris Harrison will address his racially insensitive comments controversy surrounding his defense of Bachelor contestant Rachel Kirkconnell where he will be seen discussing the events surrounding his temporary hiatus from the franchise.
“It was a mistake,” Harrison, 49, said in a sneak peek of his Good Morning America interview, “I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake. And I own that.”
Chris Harrison first found himself under fire after a Feb. 9 interview for Extra that was conducted by The Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay. The longtime host defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past actions where she was attending an “Old South” theme party in 2018, calling for fans to have “grace” toward her.
He subsequently apologized for his comments and, days later, announced that he would be “stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”
Post the sparked controversy, Rachael Kirkconnell, 24, also apologized for her past behavior, and asked fans to stop defending her amid the controversy. The Georgia native made the final three on Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor.
With the controversy leading to cyberbullying on social media, the former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay deactivated her Instagram account on February 26, and her “Higher Learning” podcast co-host Van Lathan confirmed the news via Instagram the same day.
“My cohost on ‘Higher Learning,’ Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today,” he said. “She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from Bachelor fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say.”
Supporting Lindsay, Lathan addressing the hate comments said in the clip that cyberbullies should “get a f******g life.” He also added that their anger is misdirected. “Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these present 2021 times. She’s not responsible for that. It’s not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn’t understand what the f*** triggers people in today’s world.”
Who will be stepping in Chris Harrison’s shoes?
The New York Times best-selling author and host of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho has been tapped as Harrison’s replacement. Acho, who said he was approached to appear on the franchise previously, but turned it down, had been publicly suggested to fill Harrison’s finale chair by Lindsay.
Per ABC, Acho will sit down with James and his three finalists — Bri Springs, Michelle Young, and Kirkconnell to discuss the season, James’ final decision, and where he is now. The new host will also be seen covering the current events about the franchise.
Acho, who describes his book as “answering all the racial questions you’ve been too afraid to ask,” said on social media of the opportunity, “It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming.”