Chris Harrison shakes up Bachelor Nation

By Emilia Chojnacki, staff writer

After 19 years of hosting “The Bachelor”, TV personality Chris Harrison announced on Feb. 13 that he would take leave from the Bachelor franchise. With just the finale and contestant panel left, this news came across as a shock and point of concern to many fans. However, by examining the conversations and posts from the weeks leading up to the announcement, the triggering event becomes visible and a bit more convoluted when delving into the situation. 

In the linked video, 2017 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay interviewed Chris Harrison on broadcasting newsmagazine “Extra” to discuss controversial information about current Bachelor top two finalist Rachel Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell has since apologized for her actions, ranging from attending an “Old South” antebellum-themed party in college, participating in the spreading of QAnon conspiracies, liking a friend’s post in front of a Confederate flag and bullying a classmate for “liking black men.” 

Throughout Harrison’s interview discussing this topic with Lindsay, the first African-American Bachelorette in history, he rather aggressively expressed his desire for people to give Kirkconnell a break, with little understanding or empathy for Lindsay and the Black community’s pain in this situation. 

With the rise of cancel culture, negative pasts are being brought to light and hurting people in the public eye’s futures, whether they have changed since or not. For this reason, it could have made sense that Chris Harrison wanted to promote granting Kirkconnell space and time to apologize and show she has grown and changed. If that is true or not, it will most likely never be proven without interacting with Rachel in person. However, Chris Harrison’s words lie that he did not want to give a safe space to those affected by Rachel Kirkconnell’s harsh, offensive past. Chris had compassion for one Rachel but could not give it to the other. The rest of those negatively affected by this instance and amalgamated all the previous problematic contestants on “The Bachelor.”

After Harrison spoke with passion and conviction to defend Rachel Kirkconnell, Bachelor Nation hopes that their face of “The Bachelor”, Chris Harrison, will return with that same dedication. Though, this time direct it at being actively anti-racist. Harrison expressed in his apology that he spoke “in a manner that perpetuates racism.” Many find that the silence from the franchise seems to follow every problematic contestant and practice, making it clear that being anti-racist is not too high of a priority for ABC’s “The Bachelor”.

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