“I made a mistake,” Harrison tells Michael Strahan. “I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake and I own that.”
Harrison and The Bachelor franchise have been embroiled in controversy amid Matt James’s historic season. Shortly after the Jan. four premiere, Kirkconnell — the presumed winner — was accused of previous racist actions, which she has apologized for — twice. Among the allegations had been photographs of the 24-year-old graphic designer from 2018 at an “Old South” plantation-themed faculty formal.
In an interview on Extra with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black lead, Harrison requested for individuals to provide Kirkconnell some “grace” whereas excusing historic racism.
“Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?” Harrison mentioned of the photographs.
“It’s not a good look ever because she’s celebrating the Old South,” Lindsay defined. “If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?”
“I don’t disagree with you,” Harrison replied. “You’re 100 percent right — in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. Again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018… that was a type of party that a lot of people went to.”
Harrison, 49, apologized after the interview went viral, eliciting outrage from most of Bachelor Nation.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Shortly after his mea culpa, Harrison introduced he would “be stepping aside for a period of time” and won’t host the standard After the Final Rose particular. Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL participant and best-selling creator of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, has been tapped as his alternative. But Harrison’s future longterm is up within the air.
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