Usually people have to wait until Monday to hear the latest Bachelor tea … but today brings a bonus scene. Contestant Rachel Kirkconnell’s recent racism controversy erupted online but what got even more attention was the defense she got from Bachelor host Chris Harrison in a recent interview.
Essentially fans claimed Kirkconnell, a frontrunner on Matt James’ current Bachelor season, was racist based off of social media allegations. Harrison spoke with Extra's Rachel Lindsay on Tuesday about the incident. The Bachelor host stood to her defense which caused heat from social justice warriors.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Kirkconnell was canceled because she was “allegedly photographed at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity ball in 2018,” reportedly acted insensitively towards someone in high school "for liking Black guys,” and supposedly liked social media photos containing the Confederate flag.
In the interview with Extra, Harrison defended Kirkconnell:
We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. 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 her parents and her parents' voting record. It's unbelievably alarming to watch this.
He said he was used to the woke police but admitted that Kirkconnell, as well as he himself, is still learning and growing from mistakes in the past, and asked fans to allow Kirkconnell to speak on her own behalf before trolling her.
Ironically, Extra’s Rachel Lindsay was the leading lady as well as the first black Bachelorette in season 13 of the show, so you’d think she would understand the pressure and spotlight Kirkconnell is under. But content is favored over kindness in Hollywood.
In the interview, aka defense trial, Harrison said that “People will watch this and depending on how its edited and how its cut are gonna have a serious opinion on how I'm speaking.” Since Kirkconnell didn’t speak out on her own behalf (contestants aren't typically allowed to give interviews while the show is airing), the blame and woke police are after Harrison, just as he suspected. The Twitter backlash was not surprising.
Huffington Post Reporter Emma Gray said in a four-tweet thread she was “shaking with rage” at Harrison’s defense for Kirkconnell: “I feel like @chrisbharrison expresses more empathy for people who romanticize the confederacy than people who are harmed by white supremacy in this clip. So disappointing.”
Also, host of Baby Got Bach A Bachelor Podcast Brett Vergara chimed in and tweeted, “That man is ONE OF THE MOST MEDIA-TRAINED MEN ON TV TODAY... AND YET, still found a way to be hella racist. Truly a Herculean feat to pull that one off” and later added, “Idea — replace the ‘Women Tell All’ with Chris Harrison in the hot seat for two hours straight getting an accountability and racism lesson #TheBachelor.”
Harrison knew cancel culture would be after him which is probably why he had such an eloquent apology prepared. In it he said, “I am here to extend a sincere apology...While I do not speak for Rachel 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.”
Harrison said he has been dragged for being both a “Hollywood liberal” and a “Trumper,” so who knows if this apology will do him any good. Good thing he’s the host of The Bachelor because there’s no way he’s getting the final rose now.