Chris Harrison Responds to Backlash Following Rachael Kirkconnell Comments

Chris Harrison standing in front of a rose wall.

Getty Images Chris Harrison has apologized for comments he made about the controversy surrounding Rachael Kirkconnell.

Bachelor host Chris Harrison has issued an apology following backlash that resulted from his comments about Rachael Kirkconnell.

Harrison took to Instagram one day after an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on ExtraTV to speak out after fans slammed him for seeming to defend Kirkconnell’s controversial behavior.

“To my Bachelor Nation family — 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. 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. I promise to do better,” Harrison wrote in and Instagram post on Wednesday evening.

Harrison did not allow comments on the post.

Here’s what you need to know:

Harrison Said He Wanted to Allow Kirkconnell to Speak for Herself

Chris Harrison & Rachel Lindsay Talk ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell“The Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell made headlines after photos emerged of her at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. There are also allegations that she had liked racist social media posts and more. “Extra’s” Rachel Lindsay caught up with Chris Harrison to get his thoughts on the matter.2021-02-10T01:41:15Z

Harrison and Lindsay discussed the photos of Kirkconnell at a 2018 “Old South” ball during their February 9 interview. Harrison said they were “not a good look in 2021” but “that was not the case in 2018. And you know I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018. … That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. … We are not looking under the same lens.”

Harrison urged critics to “have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” for Kirkconnell.

“I have seen some stuff online, again, this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart. … It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet, and 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, like, boom, like okay this girl is in this book now and she’s now in this group, and I’m like, ‘Really?'” Harrison told Lindsay.

“I respect her enough to allow her the courtesy of time and she can speak on her own,” he said.

You can watch the full segment in the video above.

Harrison’s Apology Comes After Fans Started a Petition to Have Him Removed as the Host of ‘Bachelor’ Franchise Shows

Not long after Harrison’s interview with Lindsay aired, it went viral. Social media filled up with people calling Harrison out for not standing up for people of color.

A Reddit thread titled “If this show is going to get better for POC, Chris Harrison has to go” had more than 1,700 upvotes and 465 comments at the time of publishing, with many fans calling for Harrison to lose his job.

“It’s time for a NEW host! It’s these type of racists remarks that hold us back from a future of more love & peace in this,” wrote one commenter.

“This interview is SO much worse then I thought it would be going in. It’s f****** terrible, racism apologist b******,” added another.

Several people also commented that they signed a petition started in an effort to remove Harrison from the franchise. The petition had grown to more than 12,000 signatures in just a couple of hours.

READ NEXT: Rachael Kirkconnell Accused of Attending a Racist Event

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