After 19 years of hosting ABC’s hit dating show “The Bachelor,” Chris Harrison will be “stepping aside” from his position.
The backlash from Bachelor Nation and demand for Harrison’s resignation began after an interview with the show’s first and only Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.
Lindsay and Harrison discussed the past actions of current “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. In 2018, Kirkconnell attended an antebellum-themed sorority party where costumes and decorations glamourized the South’s intolerant past.
On the show, Harrison excused Kirkconnell’s post, arguing that it was “not a good look in 2021, but that was not the case in 2018.”
Lindsay and thousands of “Bachelor” fans were unhappy with Harrison’s response.
Lexi Tucker, a Georgia State alumna and a longtime fan, does not excuse Harrison or Kirkconnel’s actions, but she is unhappy that Kirkconnell is falling victim to so-called “cancel culture.” While Tucker feels that the situation is unacceptable, she believes the sorority itself should be held accountable for their actions, and more so than those in attendance.
“The accusations against [Kirkconnel] could be considered fair. However, I think it’s unfair to jump to conclusions and judge her entire character based [on] a picture that surfaced from 2018,” Tucker said.
Harrison and Kirkconnell have since apologized for their behavior, with Harrison announcing a temporary leave from his position. But many are unsatisfied with the response, arguing that a temporary leave is not sufficient punishment.
Many members of Bachelor Nation believe that to prove the series takes racial equality seriously, ABC should completely remove Harrison from the program.
Angela Martenuic is an avid “Bachelor” viewer, waiting to see who will receive the next rose every Monday night. Harrison’s inadequate response left her wanting a change.
“After I watched the interview for myself, I was left with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment,” she said. “I knew that I wouldn’t be able to see the show in the same light after I knew that Harrison was so quick to excuse the behavior. I think that the only way that the series can regain their public image is to get a new host altogether.”
The producers of the show felt the same way. Recently, ABC announced that Emmanuel Ancho, who is best known for being the host of the online series “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” will be taking Harrison’s place. Ancho’s show is known for critiquing and discussing racial ignorance.
“I think that this change needs to happen,” Martenuic said. “I think that this new change has been a long time coming and that it’s good to bring some diversity to the constant all-white cast. Personally, I am looking over to see what new things are in line for “The Bachelor.”