ABC/Todd Wawrychuck(LOS ANGELES) — Chris Harrison is walking back on the comments he made when defending Rachael Kirkconnell, who is competing on the newest season of The Bachelor for Matt James' heart.
Harrison spoke with former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay for E! News on Tuesday regarding Kirkconnell's alleged past racist behavior, specifically of the photos depicting the contestant attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity party in 2018.
During the interview, the Bachelor host expressed sympathy for the contestant and claimed she was potentially a victim of cancel culture.
"People are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into her and her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this," he said during the interview, adding that he wants to hear Rachael's side before forming his own opinion.
His comments faced immediate backlash, with fans calling on Harrison to apologize for dismissing Rachel Lindsay's concerns during the interview.
In a Instagram post on Wednesday, Harrison addressed Bachelor Nation in a public apology and agreed his past choice of words were "a mistake."
"I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed," the statement read. "While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf."
"What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry," the statement continued. "I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better."
By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.