Rachel Lindsay & Bachelor Nation have a lot of thoughts about Chris Harrison

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As we discussed, The Bachelor’s host Chris Harrison stepped away from the franchise over the weekend. While many said (including me) that Harrison “stepped down,” the truth is that he stepped away – he did not quit the franchise, and his “stepping away” is an open-ended thing which will likely see him making some kind of “comeback” in a few months. Why did he step away? Well… he defended a racist, Confederate-flag-waving, QAnon-loving contestant in an appallingly full-throated way, invoking “woke police” and suggesting that people didn’t know that plantation and slavery cosplay was racist AF in 2018. It took several days, but Harrison offered a comprehensive apology and announced that he was stepping away from the franchise. So… will Harrison be gone for good? Or will producers give him the chance to come back next season? Bachelor Nation has a lot of thoughts.

Chris Harrison excusing historical racism has left former Black contestants from the franchise divided on how to proceed with the host’s future — some say he needs teaching, others want him gone for good. We spoke to several Black ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ alums from recent years, and the consensus is they’re disappointed with the longtime host’s downplaying of Rachael Kirkconnell’s past … which many have called straight up racist.

We’re told Chris’ apparent lack of interest in understanding why Rachael’s prior actions were upsetting … came off as him talking down to the Black community. So, what does that mean for his future on the shows? Well, Marshana Ritchie (‘Bachelor,’ Season 12) and Leslie Hughes (‘Bachelor,’ Season 17) tell us Harrison needs a long break, and a lot of education on Black history … plus, sensitivity training before he returns.

Marquel Martin (‘Bachelorette,’ Season 10) and Robyn Jedkins (‘Bachelor,’ Season 17) both think Chris should be given a second chance — and probably shouldn’t be burned at the stake, but they add … he needs to do better at understanding the Black perspective before speaking on these issues again. Fan fave Mike Johnson (‘Bachelorette,’ Season 15) says he wants to see Chris do work in the African-American community before coming back, while genuinely attempting to connect to Black viewers … who might see the show as skewed toward white audiences.

Now for some of the harsher takes, courtesy of DeMario Jackson (‘Bachelorette,’ Season 13) and Jubilee Sharpe (‘Bachelor,’ Season 20) … they both want Chris gone permanently.

[From TMZ]

Yeah, while I appreciate that TMZ went to the Black contestants, I’d also be interested in hearing what the white contestants think, wouldn’t you? It feels like… um, people don’t want to open that can of worms. I’ve always assumed that a good chunk of the white contestants are pretty MAGA and would therefore think that Harrison is fine and he should come back right away.

Rachel Lindsay, a former Bachelorette and the woman who conducted the interview where Harrison was racist AF, is also speaking about Harrison’s apology and what should happen next:

Lindsay, 35, told Extra host Billy Bush on Monday that she was “stunned” after her interview with Harrison, during which he said that Kirkconnell deserved “compassion” after social media posts of hers surfaced — including Kirkconnell dressing up as a Native American person and attending an antebellum plantation-themed ball.

“Like he said, he needs to take time to get educated and on a profound and productive level to use his word,” she said. “And I think he needs to understand what was done, what was wrong, and what he said in that interview, and he needs time. He’s stepped away to do that.”

Prior to his announcement he would be taking a break from the show, Harrison initially apologized to Lindsay and for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” a day after his interview with the former Bachelorette was met with backlash. Lindsay told Bush that it’s hard for her to “fully accept” Harrison’s apology because it came “after the fact.”

“I’m going to need that time and space and compassion that he referenced to really accept the apology, because [Chris wasn't] apologetic at first,” she said. “I’m not saying I can’t get there, it’s just, initially, it’s a little tough for me…Because when you think of racism, you think explicit racism… you think wearing a white hood, you know? Saying things that are derogatory or offensive. That’s explicit racism, but then there’s implicit racism where you have these unconscious biases and stereotypes and misconceptions of certain groups, and that’s what we were seeing in that interview, and I think it was a moment for people to recognize what was being said and to learn and grow from it, which is what we’re seeing happen now with Chris.”

[From People]

Rachel is totally right – and doing God’s work – to point out the difference between explicit and implicit racism, but I’d just like to point out that the interview she did with Harrison which started this mess was actually an example of both, explicit and implicit. Harrison wasn’t wearing a white hood, but he was BEYOND implicitly racist in that interview. (Also: BILLY BUSH, I can’t believe he’s back.)

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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17 Responses to “Rachel Lindsay & Bachelor Nation have a lot of thoughts about Chris Harrison”

  1. Case says:

    I don’t follow the Bachelor series at all but wow, what a mess. I think the most concerning part of this exchange between Rachel and Chris (at least for me, as a white woman) is that he was actively arguing with a Black woman about what was and wasn’t acceptable behavior from white people. That’s just…no. You sit down and you listen and you educate yourself and you BELIEVE people with lived experience about what is or isn’t okay. His apology rings hollow because he chose to be defensive rather than learn in the moment during their interview.

  2. Amelie says:

    I finally watched Rachel’s interview with Chris last night and it was even worse than the articles portrayed it to be. Especially the “who are you to say” comment. I could see Rachel’s blood was boiling by the way she was wringing her hands. He interrupted her several times, spoke over her, brought up irrelevant things about his childhood (playing playground games in the 1970s that are now banned today?), and may have outed himself as a Republican which I thought was hilarious (he commented on the fact people troll him for being too liberal or too conservative on social media and honestly I can only see a Republican getting ticked off enough to mention this out loud in such a public setting).

    I wouldn’t be sad to see him replaced with another host. He’s been the face of the show for 20 years, let someone else have a turn. They could have a rotating cast of former Bachelor alums, maybe a different one per season. I do give Chris credit for being able to say the most cheesy lines in the history of reality TV with a straight face and somehow not break out into peals of laughter each time. Every time he sits down with a Bachelor/ette for a “serious moment” on camera, his serious face is the most hilarious expression I’ve ever seen. I will miss laughing at it hysterically but that’s the only thing I’ll miss about him hosting the show should ABC choose to sideline him forever.

    • Holly hobby says:

      The networks have replaced female hosts who they consider “long in the tooth.” They can certainly replace him. Hell they got rid of Tom Bergeron and he never did anything wrong.

      Chris was always a closet GOPer. Didn’t he bitch when they sidelined him after he brok quarantine rules?

  3. Leskat says:

    Bachelor Reddit has been going crazy for days over this. They’re calling for his head on a platter when a few months ago they were talking about what a sexy zaddy he is. I find it weird that they’re all bitching about him now when he’s always been this way. Afraid to get into anything deep and glossing over awful behavior. Chris needed to step down from Bachelor years ago but it was because he was a tired relic of Bach as it used to be and he looks bored AF.

  4. Christa says:

    As someone who has never watched this show, perhaps my opinion does not count for much. I only read about media accounts. Anyway the press made it seem like they were ready to cancel her right away. Yes it was a dumb to go to a Plantation themed event. IMO being in a sorority is dumb unless it’s one of those academic ones or really into community service. However she lives in a culture where this does not seem to have been questioned. Lots of people in the US are really dumb. … I mean when they do man on the street interviews and ask people to name a country that borders the US, a good chunk of people can’t answer correctly. Some people just don’t question stuff and have no curiousity. Does anybody really know enough to say if she is just kind of dumb or a racist? Unless people really know, it kind of bad to try to ruin her life.

    • Mia says:

      That sorority that threw the event with cosplay antebellum has a history of glorifying the Confederacy/ state rights narrative.

      I think it is more curious how people try and play the ‘devil’s advocate’ and then infantilize the white people involved in these situations and act like they do not know exactly what they are doing on some level when they put on such events.

      It is also curious to me how a country built so much upon keeping these certain narratives about race on all levels of society in place, is full of a bunch of ‘dumb people’ (active participants and passive) who all of a sudden have no idea about how this narrative/system operates and ‘need education’.

      I find it insulting that black people are expected to educate white people about racism/white supremacy when they know exactly how it operates and how to keep it going. It is a wasted/thankless exercise. Imagine being at the top of society and being allowed to say you can have that spot by being ‘dumb’ and all ‘aw shucks’ about the historical reality in your face every day. White supremacy is a hell of a drug.

    • lucky says:

      Yeah, but being dumb doesn’t mean that the racism is excused. She is clearly dumb (in this regard) and lived in a bubble and as such her white supremacist training (that we all get from living in the US) was never challenged and she never sought different information out. However, she is also an adult, and responsible for her actions. She is dating a black man on national television, so, yeah, it’s going to be a big deal. The last bachelorette to really step in it made her mea culpa and is learning and growing, that is literally all she has to do. It isn’t a bad thing, or a life ending thing, to be wrong, own it, and grow. There is no reason to make excises, just own it, learn, and grow. That’s it.

      • Christa says:

        I agree she should own it. I just don’t think the venom with which people, not you clearly, are coming at her with is appropriate. It doesn’t create an environment where people are going to want to admit their own errors. It makes people afraid instead. That’s not constructive. It’s not fair that that black people have been discriminated against. It’s not fair that there is systemic racism and that allows her to live in such a bubble. It’s not fair for people to abuse her because of a whole system failed us all. Some do have more responsibility than others but who gets to be the judge?

  5. Myriam says:

    I was floored yesterday reading so much praise because this guy wrote (or had a PR person write) an okay apology letter. It was a literal WTF and it really showed how white men can do the bare minimum and be applauded (see also the country guy using the n word). As a black woman, It’s exhausting. I don’t know if much of these posters are aware of Chris’s history or actually bothered to watch the interview video before voicing their praise. I admit I’m not a Bachelor fan (I never got past half of the first season because the second hand embarrassment for these women were too much for me to handle), but I was still aware of Chris’s history through celebrity blogs. He’s sexist, homophobic, and yes, racist. He romanticized the stalking of a woman who now has a restraining order against the bachelor guy. Frankly she should sue Chris and the Bachelor. The entire series needs to die, and I need not ever hear the name Chris Harrison again.

    • Emm says:

      I agree with the whole series needing to die. This show spawned in a different era. I was in college when it started and I remember having a bunch of girls every Thursday night go to someone’s apartment to watch. Everything is different now and this type of show has not aged well IMO. It’s all about the drama at this point.

  6. Coco says:

    ‘Probably shouldn’t be burned at the stake’
    Because the remote possibility of losing a cushy job that he lucked into 20 years ago and that any blandly attractive white man could have done is the same as a literal public execution. SMH.

  7. Lory says:

    How about take this opportunity to cancel this show? I’m all for escapist, train-wreck reality tv, but this franchise is SO degrading to everyone involved. How is anyone surprised that the host of a show that 1. promotes female stereotypes 2. normalize abusive male behaviour and 3. brings the worst out of everyone is racist?

  8. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are inherently racist tv shows. The premise is to laud and uphold WHITE cishetero-patriarchy as the standard. While his interview with Rachel Lindsay was horrible, ABC is making Harrison into a scapegoat. How did the producers or whomever vets the women for the show (with the first Black bachelor!) not see these offensive posts and actions? Why did it take so long for ABC to force this contestant to address this? The interview was terrible, however the issue is systemic within Bachelor Nation.
    And: Word on the street the pro-antebellum chick won the competition!

  9. Susan says:

    IIRC, this show came to be in the same era in which we vilified Britney for her loss of her virginity and “hurting” poor Justin. If we are re evaluating A LOT of bad ideas from that era…isn’t this show worthy of a re evaluation? I’m not trying to say I told you so, but I’ve always felt this show was so terribly reductive and sexist. Even when it is the female choosing the male. Just the worst of sexual stereotypes on both sides really.

  10. Shirley May says:

    It’s time to mix up the ethnicity of all TV hosts.
    TV still fails to mirror reality when it comes to people of color.
    Why did it take so long for a Bachelor/Bachelorette of color?
    The longer I live the less I watch tv. Its mostly background noise for me now.

  11. Renee says:

    Chris Harrison needs to be gone….period. He isn’t sorry, he is just sorry he showed himself. Also, Billy Bush is still on the show??? Cancel culture is such a myth….smdh.

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