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'I Will Always Own A Mistake': 'Bachelor' Chris Harrison Apologizes For 'Perpetuating Racism' After Defending Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell

bachelor host chris harrison apologizes perpetuating racism defending rachael kirkconnell pf
Source: ABC (2)

Feb. 11 2021, Updated 12:17 p.m. ET

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The Bachelor host Chris Harrison apologized for how he conducted himself during a recent interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay about controversial Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.

Earlier this week, Harrison, 49, came under fire after he said Bachelor Nation should offer Kirkconnell "a little grace, a little understanding" amid accusations that she allegedly "liked" racially sensitive posts on social media.

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Kirkconnell — who is the reported frontrunner on Matt James' current Bachelor season — was also allegedly photographed at a plantation-themed party while in school at Georgia College and State University in 2018.

"To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology," Harrison began via Instagram on Wednesday, February 10. "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."

Source: Chris Harrison/ Instagram
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The reality TV show host added that he is not in contact with Kirkconnell but his "intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf."

He added: "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 sorry."

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Harrison came to Kirkconnell's defense during an interview with Extra co-host Lindsay, who was the first black lead in Bachelor history. 

"I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, and that's it, boom," Harrison said during the interview. "This girl is in this book now, and she’s now in this group, and I’m like, really?”

“Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party,” Lindsay, 35, replied. “That’s not a good look.”

Harrison then questioned: "Is it [not] a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021?"

"It’s not a good look ever, cause she’s celebrating the Old South," Lindsay stated. "If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?"

Harrison continued to defend the 24-year-old, responding: "My guess, these girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were 18 years old. Now does it make it OK? I don’t know, Rachel, you tell me.

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"Where is this lens we’re holding up, and was that lens available, and were we all looking through it in 2018? I don't know," Harrison shared. "I don’t have these answers."

Lindsay said "that's the problem" with a party like that. "You're right, we weren't looking through those lenses, and we should have been, and just cause it was a popular party, and just cause it’s a popular party, doesn’t necessarily make it right."

Lindsay also clarified that "there’s nothing that contractually stops" Kirkconnell from publicly responding to these accusation and saying: "'Hey, this isn’t true.’" "I think if it were me, and my name was being attached to something that wasn’t true, I would be coming out and saying something," she added.

Kirkconnell is currently vying for the first Black male lead's heart on season 25 of the dating reality show. Click here to learn more about the controversial frontrunner.

The Bachelor airs Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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