Michael Strahan came away unimpressed after a conversation with Chris Harrison on Good Morning America. Three weeks after stepping down as host of The Bachelor due to racially insensitive comments made in a February interview, Harrison apologized for his words in an interview with Strahan, who wasn’t convinced it was sincere.
“His apology is his apology, but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this,” Strahan said immediately after his conversation with Harrison aired. “Obviously, he’s a man who clearly wants to stay on the show, but only time will tell if there’s any meaning behind his words.”
Harrison, 49, became the subject of controversy in early February when he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell against accusations of racism, which included her attending an Antebellum South plantation-themed ball in 2018. Harrison blamed the outrage on the “woke police” and asked interviewer Rachel Lindsay if the actions were racist in 2018 or if they are only racist by 2021 standards.
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay,” Harrison said on Good Morning America in March. “I didn’t speak from my heart. And 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.”
Spoilers expert Reality Steve said a day before the interview aired that it looked like “step [one] to Chris’ rehab tour” and “a major step into him returning to the show.” But Strahan’s reaction echoed many fans’ belief that Harrison didn’t do himself many favors with the conversation.
Fans Doubled Down on Opinions of Chris Harrison
Viewers of The Bachelor have been split in their opinion of Harrison after the interview with Rachel Lindsay. While many — including a significant amount of former Bachelor Nation stars — found Harrison’s defense of Kirkconnell’s racist behaviors unacceptable, others believe his apologies are enough to warrant a return to hosting duties.
Harrison’s interview with Strahan only added more fuel to both fires. Fans who want a new face of the franchise agreed with Strahan’s assessment of the apology:
@michaelstrahan thank you for calling out Chris Harrison’s trash SURFACE apology for being just that, this morning! It had absolutely no sincerity or heart! 🙄
— Twyla Malcom (@twylamalcom) March 4, 2021
I totally agree with @michaelstrahan …that felt like a surface apology. The words #ChrisHarrison spoke were very carefully crafted, undoubtedly by a team of experts coaching him. He expects to return to the franchise. Do you think he should return as host? #BachelorNation #GMA
— SandyT (@sassygirlcanada) March 4, 2021
What exactly was your ‘mistake’ #ChrisHarrison? What was different between 2018 and 2021? No real answers here or clear actions on moving forward in change. Nice commentary @michaelstrahan post interview in acknowledging the surface level of Harrison’s canned statements @GMA
— Nancy Kennedy (@nancyjokennedy) March 4, 2021
Meanwhile, fans who have defended Harrison were furious that his sincerity was questioned.
So @michaelstrahan wasn't impressed by The Bachelor host Chris Harrison's apology, why the hell am I not surprised? What the hell more do you want from him? He said he was sorry & would change his ways, why can't you just forgive the guy already and move on? #CancelCultureSucks
— Jennifer Irons (@TeamBobbyEwing) March 4, 2021
@michaelstrahan give Harrison a break. He made a mistake. He realizes it. He owns it. He is trying to move forward with more knowledge. Give him a chance
— Ralph Pamenter (@rpamenter) March 4, 2021
@michaelstrahan You’re not sure Chris Harrison’s apology was heartfelt? YET ANOTHER APOLOGY PICKED APART AND DEEMED NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You have no idea how you’re hurting the cause.
— Paula Sherley (@psherham) March 4, 2021
If Harrison’s interview on Good Morning America was meant to smooth things over and pave a path for a return to hosting duties, it doesn’t appear as though it changed many minds.
Popular Recent Contestants Have Expressed Discomfort With Chris Harrison Returning
Serena Pitt exited season 25 of The Bachelor after feeling unsettled about her relationship with Matt James following a hometown date with her family. Her fourth place finish has her well positioned to be a candidate to lead The Bachelorette some time in the future, but she expressed some concerns about doing so with Harrison as host.
“With the Bachelorette season being so soon… I would struggle [with Chris as host], because the amount of work that needs to be done here,” Pitt told Entertainment Tonight. “I would need to see the changes that have been happening in his life, and the actions that he has taken, and will be continuing to take moving forward, to feel comfortable welcoming him into the Bachelorette season.”
Ivan Hall, a third place finisher on season 16 of The Bachelorette, had similar thoughts.
“If they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on Bachelor in Paradise or something like that — and I’m sure a lot of the other contestants feel this way as well — I wouldn’t feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank,” Hall said on an episode of E! News’ Daily Pop. “[I’m] not saying he can’t make a recovery, he can’t learn from this, but it just would be too soon, really. So I think he needs to take some time, really look into himself and really have a lot of tough conversations and understand why he believes the things he believes at this point in his life.”
In his interview with Strahan, Harrison said, “I plan to be back and I want to be back” as host of The Bachelor.