Harrison announced he was “stepping aside for a period of time” after his controversial Extra interview in which he later admitted to “excusing historical racism” while discussing racism accusations facing contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.
“I know there are people out there that feel very connected and adamant about Chris Harrison,” Pitt told Entertainment Tonight. “I think that Chris has a lot of work to do and he has to put in that work. That’s not an overnight thing. That is a long-term process of education and moving from a state of ignorance.”
Should she be asked, she is open to being Bachelorette, but feels it is too soon for Harrison to return to his hosting duties.
“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 the outlet. “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.”
Her interview with the outlet took place before Harrison’s Good Morning America interview Thursday morning. While he made it clear in the interview that he believes he is ready to continue as the franchise’s longtime host, he still will not host the After the Final Rose. The author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho, will instead host the special.
Pitt Thinks Acho Is ‘A Really Good Choice’
Pitt told Entertainment Tonight that she thinks Acho is “a really good choice,” despite not knowing much about the former football player “prior to being cast.” Since the announcement, she researched the Fox Sports analyst and thinks “extremely qualified to be conducting these very difficult conversations that I’m hoping will be had at the After the Final Rose.”
She continued, “I am happy to see that they have chosen someone from outside of Bachelor Nation. He seems to be an incredible advocate. I’m glad they chose a Black individual to be sitting down and discussing the racism that’s in the franchise with Matt and the other women that will be present.”
Should it go well, Pitt told the outlet Acho could be a good fit long-term.
Pitt Found Kirkconnell’s Past ‘Disappointing’
Among the women present on the After the Final Rose special will be Kirkconnell, who has since apologized for accusations, which included resurfaced photos of her dressed in a Native American costume and at an “Old South” party and having liked photos featuring her friends dressed in Mexican costumes and posing with a Confederate flag.
While she told People “It was definitely disappointing to see what came out about Rachael Kirkconnell,” the Canada-native commended the embattled contestant for her response.
“I read her statement and I watched her video and I really commend her for the way she’s handled this,” Pitt said. “I think everyone is just processing all of this, everyone is doing their best to both save their energy and protect themselves as well as speak out and not just ask but demand for change in the franchise.”
Also discussing this need for change with Entertainment Tonight, including among those behind the scenes, she explained, “It needs to be kind of within the core of the franchise. That change again is not going to be overnight, but it needs to be constant. We’ve been taking a lot of baby steps every couple of years and there needs to be leaps taken on a regular basis moving forward.”
ABC has yet to comment on Harrison’s future with the dating franchise.