Chris Harrison is trying to learn.
Last month, the long-time host of The Bachelor was bashed for his bigotry.
As I covered on Valentine’s Day, Rachael Kirkconnell — a recent contestant on the romantic race of a television hit — was exposed for having taken part in a fraternity formal with an antebellum theme:
— Rosé (@TeaAndRoses21) February 4, 2021
It gets worse; here’s The Daily Wire:
The photo apparently gave rise to a full-fledged investigation into Kirkconnell’s background, conducted largely by social media sleuths, that turned up an unverified allegation that she’d shamed a former acquaintance for dating black men, and evidence that Kirkconnell’s parents voted for Donald Trump (the internet detectives sought Kirkconnell’s voting record but, it seems, could not find it).
Cue the mob.
Then cut to Chris.
Speaking with Extra, the guy went to bat for…
“I haven’t talked to Rachael about it. We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. … I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, and that’s it.”
Via a #FireChrisHarrison and a Change.org petition, the crowd told him where he could shove all three.
Extra host Rachel Lindsay later pointed out that “his privilege was on display.”
Subsequently, Chris stepped away as host and gave The Greatest Apology in the History of the World.
Guys, if you’ve said something wrong to your girlfriend or wife, learn from a master.
Write it down for later use:
“I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful. My ignorance did damage to my 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.”
As it turns out, he’d excused historical racism.
And not only that…
“By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am shamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.”
Chris specifically addressed black people.
And anyone else not white:
“To the Black community, to the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people from these communities who I’ve had enlightening conversations with over the past few days, and I am so grateful to those who have reached out to help me on my path to anti-racism.”
That was last month.
So where’s the guy been, and what’s he been doing?
In a word, rehab: Harrison’s been getting re-educated.
As noted by the Wire, while guesting on Good Morning America Thursday, he apologized again for “perpetuating racism.”
He’s hoping he can make a return to the show, but not nearly yet:
“I plan to be back. I want to be back. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done.”
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview, and I didn’t speak from my heart. That is to say, I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry. I’m sorry to Rachel Lindsay, and I’m sorry to the Black community.”
He emphasized he’s “not a victim” and that he owns his mistake.
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay.”
Wonderfully, it sounds as if he’s gonna fix racism:
“Racism, oppression, these are big, dynamic problems and they take serious work. And I am committed to that work.”
For now, the TV man is working with a “race educator.”
Also on his educational team: Georgetown University Sociology Professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
The good doctor’s taught him about “counsel, not cancel.”
Let’s hope Chris fixes his professed problems.
Incidentally, contestant Rachel won — the hand of the show’s first black Bachelor, Matt James.
— pablocita 🇯🇲 (@badgyalrika_) February 25, 2021
Matt and Rachel have since broken up.
From Matt’s February 22nd Instagram post:
“[I]t is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison. … Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the antebellum south, a history that every American should understand intimately, was hard to watch. As Black people and allies immediately understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing for years. … [This moment has] pushed me to reevaulate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all of the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons past, and for you, the viewers at home. … My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”
It’s all a sordid tale.
So what’s the takeaway?
On GMA, Chris bottom-lined it:
“Antebellum parties are not okay. Past, present, and future.”
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