When fans tune into Bachelor Matt James’ After the Final Rose special, they will not see Chris Harrison at the helm. The host announced he will be “stepping aside for a period of time” after being criticized for perpetuating racism during an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay.
The interview saw Harrison call for contestant Rachael Kirkconnell to receive “grace” amid racism accusations and questioned if her participation in an antebellum-themed party would have been considered a bad look under a 2018 lens. Kirkconnell has since issued an apology on Instagram.
Still, the question remains who will take over in the longtime host’s absence? Lindsay’s name was among those being thrown around. When E! News asked if she would consider the role, she said, “Honestly, I am not even thinking about that.”
The Bachelor Happy Hour host continued, “I think the bigger picture is that there is an issue and Chris is recognizing it, other people are recognizing and I think if my message is to really make change and to really create a level of awareness, then I can’t be focused on trying to take somebody else’s job. I am just focused on really us getting to a place of unity where we can all be better.”
Even if she was offered the role, it is unclear if she would accept it. While Lindsay does have hosting experience, most recently as an Extra correspondent, she recently shared on her Higher Learning podcast that she does not plan to renew her contract with the franchise. She currently co-hosts their official podcast, Bachelor Happy Hour.
Lindsay Is ‘Waiting and Seeing’ What Comes Next
In the wake of the interview, and Harrison’s apologies, Lindsay told E! News, “I don’t think anybody knows what’s next. I think we are all going to be waiting and seeing.”
While the former Bachelorette has previously admitted to Extra’s Billy Bush that she has some difficulty accepting the apology as the one who interviewed him, she did acknowledge that Harrison is taking some steps in the right direction.
“I think that he has apologized at this point, so I don’t really want to go into it too much because he’s apologized not once, not twice and he seems to be taking the steps that are necessary to really learn from this whole experience,” she explained to E! News. “I’m just happy for the level of awareness and to sit and see what happens next.”
She continued, “I think he has admitted the way the interview went, to use his own words, ‘perpetuated racism,’ so I think that he is aware of some of the things that went wrong in that interview and is willing to grow for it.”
Lindsay Believes the Franchise Needs Decision-Makers of Color to Make Real Change
During her Higher Learning podcast following the Extra interview, Lindsay revealed the franchise has diversity consultants.
When speaking with co-host Van Lathan, she questioned, “Who didn’t attend the class? Did Chris Harrison not sit through that? I’m confused as to how you could have a whole consultant, consultants working for you yet what happens just happened. So are people going through trainings? Are they learning things? Are they just being protected from what we just saw happen this week?”
So if that did not work, how does she see “real change” happening? Lindsay told E! News, “I think the only way real change will happen is if the people who are making the decision—they all look the same—so hopefully having somebody of color in the decision room, who has some power, who can help not just diversify and include more, but also understand, who come from these experiences as well.”
It remains to be seen who will replace Harrison, and for how long. The network has also not revealed if any other steps are being taken.