Chris Harrison has been working with an educator following his controversial interview with Rachel Lindsay back on February 9. This week, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the work that he’s been doing with Harrison. He also spoke about Harrison’s progress, and revealed his thoughts on whether or not Harrison should be allowed to return as Bachelor franchise host.
“I think as a host, it’s extremely important for him to have been through this and to be even more deeply sensitized to the issues of race, to the issues of conflict, with history and the present, and how the franchise can embody some of the best ideals and the norms that he has now taken to,” Dyson told the outlet.
The perspectives that he now has — and I think he will be all the better for it — and I think quite frankly, the show will be all the better for it as well,” he added.
The interview comes just one day after Harrison appeared on Good Morning America for a sit-down with Michael Strahan to talk about — and publicly apologize for — the things he said during the aforementioned interview with former Bachelorette Lindsay. During that interview, Harrison said that he is plans to continue on as the Bachelor franchise host.
“I plan to be back. And I want to be back,” Harrison said. During that same interview, Harrison told Strahan that he was working with Dr. Dyson, and that the two men often talked about “counsel” not “cancel.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Dyson Called Harrison a ‘Sponge’ & Said That ‘Moving Forward’ Is Also Part of the Process
Dyson went on to talk about Harrison’s approach to the education that he’s seeking. He explained that Harrison isn’t approaching this as something he has to do for a job, but something that he wants to do as a human being.
“He’s a sponge, he’s wide open, he’s critical, he’s self-critical, he’s introspective, and he’s not doing it for a job. He’s doing it for his journey. And that journey is toward recognition, that journey is toward racial justice, that journey is toward understanding how he as a white guy can continue to make a contribution by understanding what his privileges are, what his place is, and what his responsibility is. So, I’ve been heartened by that,” Dyson told Entertainment Tonight.
He went on to say that Harrison’s mistakes could really help drive the change that’s needed within the franchise, which is watched by millions of people. Moreover, he adds that Harrison should be able to learn from these mistakes, and to turn that into something good as he continues on this journey.
“‘The Bachelor’ is one of the most valued franchises in American society and a staple in pop culture. People tune in by the millions to find out what’s going on. So, the drama of race was always in the background and not always in a positive fashion. The fact that this has now come to the forefront, the fact that this has now surfaced and now they have to confront it through a faux pas of its host, but a host who says, ‘I messed up, I ‘fessed up, now it’s time to dress up.’ Let’s address the issue and go forward in the new clothes of racial healing and racial understanding,” Dyson explained, adding, “I think it’s extremely important to kinda engage these issues in an atmosphere of grace, understanding, forgiveness, accountability, responsibility, but also moving forward.”
Dyson believes that Harrison’s influence could be a big factor in how the franchise moves forward, too.
“I think that he has been dedicated, I think he’s committed, and guess what? If he is a change agent as a host of this tremendous franchise, look at the influence he can have across the board and not just convincing Black people that he’s serious, but talking to other white people who may be insensitive or unaware and he can make the difference,” Dyson said.
Rachel Lindsay Accepted Harrison’s Apology & Said She’s Ready to ‘Move Forward’
Lindsay was forced to delete her Instagram account after she received so many hate-filled messages following her interview with Harrison, according to The Wrap. Her podcast co-host Van Lathan spoke out about it on his Instagram account.
“My co-host on ‘Higher Learning,’ Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today. She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from Bachelor fans who are spamming her with all kinds of rude and hateful things to say,” he said. “Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these 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*ck triggers people in today’s world. It’s not. You’re going after the wrong person.”
She has confirmed that she spoke with Harrison following the interview and that he apologized to her. In an interview with Extra’s Billy Bush, Lindsay also said that she appreciates Harrison speaking out about the harassment that she has faced.
“I wasn’t expecting him, you know, to address what’s been going on with me because this is the first time we’ve heard from Chris, but the fact that he did address the harassment and the hate that I’ve been receiving, I really appreciate that,” she told Bush. He then asked her if she accepts Harrison’s overall apology.
“I do accept the apology, and I think it’s important for me to say that because I haven’t really talked about, you know, Chris and the statement because I’m not trying to make this a Chris-versus-Rachel, but … this isn’t the first time he’s apologized to me — he apologized again on ‘GMA’ today and I do accept that and I think it’s important for me to say that because we need to move forward,” Lindsay said.
“And for me, for us to move forward, I need to accept the apology, so we can all be better from this situation, which is what we want,” she added.
You can watch Lindsay’s interview with Bush below.
ABC has neither confirmed nor denied Harrison’s future within the Bachelor franchise. He chose to take some time away following his interview with Lindsay, but it’s unclear when — or if — he will return.