As Bachelor Nation gears up for the highly anticipated The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special, following the racism scandal that plagued the franchise after Chris Harrison defended Matt James' controversial contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, Emmanuel Acho hinted at what viewers can expect from him as host of the upcoming episode.
Acho teased his "very, very, very simple" mission as host of After the Final Rose special during his appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday, March 10.
The former NFL linebacker, 30, said he wants to "allow my white brothers and sisters who have watched the show and fell in love with Matt’s story to understand that Matt’s love story and his journey of love is different than other journeys of love, particularly because of his complexion and his skin color."
During his appearance on GMA, he also shared his reaction to Kirkconnell's past actions. "My initial reaction [to Rachael’s social media posts] was, ‘Yikes, that’s not a good look,’” Acho admitted, before sharing that his "secondary reaction was, 'Everybody pump the brakes’ because I believe her photos were racially insensitive and racially ignorant."
He added: "Racial insensitivity and racial ignorance can play itself out as racism, but it doesn’t necessary classify someone as racist."
As OK! previously reported, Acho took over as host of the Bachelor special after Harrison, 49, announced he would temporarily be stepping away from the franchise.
The shocking news came days after Harrison received backlash for saying Bachelor Nation should offer Kirkconnell — who was caught up in bombshell racial allegations — a little "grace" and "compassion" during his interview on February 9 with Extra co-host and former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, the first Black lead in Bachelor history.
Kirkconnell — who is one of the two remaining girls on James' season — was accused of “liking” racist social media posts, wearing a Native American costume, mocking a classmate’s attraction to Black men and attending an antebellum-themed party while in college in 2018.
During the host's interview with Lindsay, Harrison implied that the photo of Kirkconnell at the antebellum-themed party was more acceptable in 2018 as opposed to 2021 because people are now looking through a different "lens."
Acho clarified during his GMA appearance that there is “absolutely” no difference between racially insensitive behavior in 2018 versus 2021, adding: "There’s an awareness [now]. In 2018, 2017, 2016, as far back as I can go, celebrating or enacting — even if it’s just by attire — an antebellum plantation party or an antebellum plantation festivity is wrong."
The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special will air on ABC Monday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET.