Chris Harrison Apologizes For Defense Of Bachelor Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell Over Plantation-Themed Party Pics
Chris Harrison is walking back a seriously problematic interview! But is it too little, too late?!
The host of everything Bachelor-related on television for the past couple decades stepped up this week to defend current contestant on Matt James‘ season, Rachael Kirkconnell (above, left in inset) after photos surfaced of the Georgia native dressed up at a 2018 fraternity formal. The party was described on social media as “an antebellum plantation-themed ball,” which obviously didn’t sit so well with many of the show’s viewers — and for good reason.
Not only that, but the pictures actually followed other controversies for Kirkconnell, including an allegation from a TikTok user that the reality TV contestant and graphic designer allegedly bullied that person in high school “for dating Black guys.” And it quickly got worse when host Harrison (pictured above, with this season’s leading man) tried to step in!
The longtime show host appeared on Extra with correspondent Rachel Lindsay (above, right in inset) — who, of course, was the show’s very first Black Bachelorette — and tried to walk back and explain away the social media firestorm coming after Kirkconnell:
“This is, again, where we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I’ve seen some stuff online — again this judge-jury-executioner thing — where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents and her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. And until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?”
Uhhhh… OK, fair enough. You don’t want this poor girl to be canceled, blah, blah, we get it. But it was his next comment that was particularly problematic! When discussing the fraternity formal photos specifically, Harrison said:
“I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that’s it. Like, boom. Like, ‘OK. Well, this girl is in this book now. And she’s now in this group.’ I’m like, ‘Really?’”
Lindsay pointed out the OBVIOUS in response:
“The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party … That’s not a good look.”
But Chris still didn’t get it!!! Shockingly, this was his reply:
“Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
Uhhh… there is a big difference?! WTF?? It’s three years. And it’s ALL bad! Lindsay responded with a very clear explanation of the problem:
“It’s not a good look ever. Because she’s celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?”
EXACTLY!!! Plantations have a dark history many would like to not acknowledge (or some all too late), but its role in slavery should never be brushed under the rug. Harrison fumbled the ball in his reply on that obvious point, too:
“You’re 100 percent right in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. And again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. And again, I’m not defending it; I didn’t go to it.”
But what’s so different between 2018 and 2021?! Again, it’s ALL bad! Whether it be 2018, or 1918, or 1888, or anywhere in between! It’s not the year, but the message, Chris!
Finally, he gets it…
Thankfully, now, Harrison is owning up to his bull s**t. Better late than never, we suppose? In a Wednesday night Instagram post apologizing for his defense of Kirkconnell’s fraternity formal pics, the longtime on-air personality wrote:
“To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. 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. 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. 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.”
Here’s the full post (below):
How many times does the Black community have to ask for people to “listen” before people actually do?! Also, can we talk about THIS exchange (below):
My days are numbered
— Rachel Lindsay (@TheRachLindsay) February 10, 2021
With all the racial bull s**t Rachel has put up with during her time around the Bachelor franchise, we seriously don’t blame her for feeling like that, and for walking away if that’s eventually what it takes!
What do U make of all this, Perezcious readers? Reactions to the contestant’s pics? Chris’ initial defense of them? How about Rachel Lindsay’s clear frustration with the show?? BTW, since Chris is defending Kirkconnell so hard, that probably means she won this season, right? Or maybe finished second, and they’re eyeing her for the next Bachelorette role? Either way, something is definitely going on here. Is it just us, or do you get that feeling, too?!
Sound OFF about everything down in the comments (below)…
[Image via Chris Harrison/Rachael Kirkconnell/Rachel Lindsay/Instagram]