A new chapter. Bachelor Nation alums reacted to Chris Harrison announcing he is “stepping aside” as host following his controversial interview with Rachel Lindsay about Matt James’ contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s social media scandal.
“I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful,” the longtime host, 49, said in a written statement via Instagram on Saturday, February 13. “My ignorance did damage to friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself and have not met them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same.”
The ABC personality said his leave of absence will be for “a period of time,” and he will not be present for season 25’s After the Final Rose special.
“By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong,” his statement continued, while noting he is “dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level.”
The drama started when a TikTok user accused contestant Rachael of mistreating her during high school for “liking Black guys.” Another video started circulating claiming the Georgia native “liked” racist social media posts that contained the Confederate flag. Photos then surfaced of Rachael attending an “Old South” antebellum-themed party in 2018.
On February 9, Chris appeared on Extra, where former Bachelorette Rachel is a host, to talk about the happenings of season 25. He asked viewers to offer Rachael “a little grace” and “compassion” amid the controversy and said the people holding Matt’s contestant accountable were the “woke police.”
The day after his interview aired, the host posted an apology on Instagram. “I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. 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,” he wrote. “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. 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 a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable.”
Rachael also released an apology on February 11. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or OK in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist,” part of her statement read.
Bachelor Nation has responded to Chris temporarily stepping down as host. Keep scrolling to see their reactions.
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