In his first interview since stepping away from The Bachelor franchise, host Chris Harrison said he’s working to learn more about racial issues, including meeting with race and religion scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
Harrison made the revelation in an interview Thursday with Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan.
“I sought out leading scholars, teachers, faith leaders, people like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, who I am so grateful for, and I’ve also been working closely with a race educator and strategist. I thank them all,” Harrison said. “But Dr. Dyson often talks to me about counsel. Not cancel, and that is full accountability, understanding what you didn’t understand, owning that, learning from that, seeking counsel often in the community that you hurt, learning from them, listening, gaining experience, knowledge and moving forward.”
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The Bachelor host was sidelined after his contentious Feb. 9 interview with former Bachelorette lead Rachel Lindsay, who is now a correspondent on Extra. During the viral interview on the entertainment show, Harrison defended current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell for her past social media posts, including posing at an Antebellum plantation-themed party.
“I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that,” Harrison told Strahan. “I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise.”
Since the fallout, Harrison was replaced as host for the current season’s The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special, but he told Strahan he hopes to return to the franchise.
“I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change,” he said.
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EXCLUSIVE: “It was a mistake.” #TheBachelor host Chris Harrison apologizes for defending frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist social media posts, telling @michaelstrahan he is an “imperfect man” who is “committed to progress.” https://t.co/OfPBBzGd9s pic.twitter.com/0EgbKV99DV
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 4, 2021
Strahan pressed Harrison on “what is the difference” between hosting an Antebellum party in 2018 versus 2021, after Harrison had originally told Lindsay there was a difference.
“There is not,” Harrison replied this time. “Antebellum parties are not OK. Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable.”
Harrison also condemned any bullying of Lindsay on social media. The Extra correspondent recently disabled her Instagram account after receiving a flood of racist comments.
Harrison is a producer of the dating franchise and has also hosted its spinoffs the Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.
This season in particular was supposed to be a step forward for the franchise when it selected its first Black bachelor, Matt James, whose season is currently airing on ABC.
Harrison’s interview on sister network show GMA was taped on Wednesday and aired today. After the sit-down aired, Strahan expressed doubts that he believed everything The Bachelor host said.
“His apology is his apology, but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this, and obviously he’s a man who wants to clearly stay on the show, but only time will tell if there’s any meaning behind his words,” Strahan said.