Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s The Bachelor, has now apologized after facing backlash for defending a Bachelor contestant's attendance at an Antebellum-themed party three years ago.
In a previous interview, Harrison defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell from criticism after social media users discovered a 2018 picture of her attending an “antebellum” themed fraternity party. "Cancel Twitter" was quick to uncover more information on Kirkconnell in an attempt to perpetuate their claims of her racism, including pushing an unverified allegation that she shamed a friend for dating a man of color, and the fact that her parents reportedly voted for Donald Trump. (Apparently, because her parents were two of 74 million people that voted for Trump, Kirkconnell must be a racist.)
Photos have now emerged of Rachael Kirkconnell at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018 #TheBachelor #BachelorNation pic.twitter.com/TEqmofRPKN— Rosé (@TeaAndRoses21) February 4, 2021
In a recent interview with ‘Extra’ correspondent Rachel Lindsey, who was the first black star of The Bachelorette, Harrison asserted that people should have "a little grace" for a woman who simply attended a southern-period-themed party several years ago.
“I haven’t talked to Rachael about it. We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that’s it.”
Lindsey pressed, “Well, the picture is from 2018 at an ‘Old South’ antebellum party, It’s not a good look.”
“Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?” Harris answered.
“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?” Lindsey followed up.
To which Harrison responded, “I don’t disagree with you. You’re 100 percent right — in 2021. That was not the case in 2018."
"Again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018… that was a type of party that a lot of people went to," he went on. “My guess? These girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were 18 years old. Now, does that make it OK? I don’t know Rachel, you tell me, Were we all looking through [that lens] in 2018?”
But Harrison’s calls for “grace,” “compassion,” and “understanding” before jumping to conclusions about someone's character upset people because it supposedly "perpetuated racism." His statements were apparently so offensive, the social justice mob demanded an apology - to which Harrison quickly acquiesced, tweeting Wednesday:
February 11, 2021
Matt James, this season’s "bachelor" who just so happens to be the first black man to star in the long-running show and who dated Kirkconnell during the season, was asked about the recent controversy in an interview.
“I have not spoken to anybody since the show ended, but I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media," he said. "Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that.”
Kirkconnell technically “dated” James in the currently-airing, pre-filmed show and he doesn't seem to phased by her social media behavior at this point, so why are so many people attacking Harrison for his statements? Will James be asked to apologize for his "give people the benefit of the doubt” comment? Since when are people obligated to apologize for requesting “understanding” and “compassion” before conclusions are made about someone’s past actions when they have yet to explain themselves?
H/T The Daily Wire