Rachel Lindsay, a star of the widely popular “Bachelor” franchise, blasted host Chris Harrison for refusing to adhere to “cancel culture” norms by piling on a contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, who attended an Old South-themed party on a plantation in 2018.
While condemning what the party could represent, Harrison said he was “not the ‘woke’ police” and suggested the contestant’s attendance at the party was not done with the maliciously racist intent being ascribed to her, but perhaps viewed it as harmless through the “lens” of 2018. He also emphasized that Kirkconnell should be shown “a little grace.”
“I haven’t talked to Rachael about it,” Harrison said. “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.”
“You’re not going to please everybody,” he added. “I am not the woke police.”
Harrison has since leveled numerous apologies and has stepped away from the show. “I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed,” he said. “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.”
— Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison) February 11, 2021
Lindsay, the first black star of “The Bachelorette,” has since said it was the right move for Harrison to step aside, saying he needs to think about his words. She also said she cannot yet fully accept his apology, noting of her “lived experience” and suggesting his apology was too late.
“Chris has stepped aside, which I think is the right decision because, like he said, he needs to take time to get educated and on a profound and productive level to use his word,” she said, according to Fox News. “And I think he needs to understand what was done, what was wrong, and what he said in that interview, and he needs time. He’s stepped away to do that.”
The “Bachelorette” star, who was speaking to Harrison when he made the comments, said she was “stunned” the host made the comments publicly, though she admitted the two had similar private discussions before.
“Not at what was being said, because as Chris referenced in that interview, we have had these conversations,” she said. “I wasn’t shocked at the content of what he was saying… in public, where other people can hear what you think, and your, your thoughts may be a bit controversial, but I remember also thinking, ‘This is something that needs to be heard. This is something that needs to be seen.’ And I felt a duty.”
Harrison’s apologies, however, are not enough for Lindsay.
“It’s a little hard for me, because I lived the experience … There was no apology. The apology came after the fact. So it’s hard for me to fully accept it,” she explained Fox News noted. “I’m going to need that time and space and compassion that he referenced to really accept the apology, because [Chris wasn’t] apologetic at first… I’m not saying I can’t get there, it’s just, initially, it’s a little tough for me.”
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