Sharing his side. Former Bachelor host Chris Harrison recalled his apology following the controversial comments he made in 2021 which led to his exit from the show during the debut of “The Most Dramatic Podcast … Ever.”
“People didn’t think it would amount to much. If I apologized we would be able to move forward. There was a lot of confusion, anger, resentment. It was a very combustible moment in time,” the Texas native explained in his podcast’s first episode, which dropped on Monday, January 9.
Chris, 51, came under fire for defending The Bachelor season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkonell after she “liked” racist Instagram posts and attended a plantation-themed sorority party in 2018. Given her frontrunner status and season 25 featuring the first Black Bachelor in franchise history, Matt James, the resurfaced actions left fans outraged. During an Extra interview with Bachelor Nation’s Rachel Lindsay in February 2021, the former ABC personality admitted fans should give Rachael, 26, “grace” until she spoke out on the matter.
The former Bachelorette lead had a falling out with Chris following the interview, admitting one month later during an episode of the “Tell Me” podcast that she was mad at herself for “staying silent” while Chris defended Rachael. Rachel, 37, has publicly stated that she never received an apology from Chris in the interview’s aftermath.
“My timing in being sloppy, wrong, inappropriate in that moment. I was just as frustrated and blind and pissed off as the rest of the world. But that’s not to say that was OK,” Chris reflected during his 2023 podcast debut. “The timing of this was very relevant. When I apologized I felt like I needed that and it was owed. And I was fine with it. But there was so much noise at the time, it just didn’t matter."
Chris went on to explain that his words were subsequently “used” by political entities, placing him in uncomfortable territory. “My name became synonymous with this political, lightning-in-a-bottle moment, and all of a sudden someone on CNN is talking about me for purposes of the left. And then Ben Shapiro and whoever else is talking about me… so I was being used by the right,” the TV personality revealed.
When discussing the backlash and the loss of his 19-year run with the franchise, Chris admitted he lost 20 pounds and “deteriorated” mentally and physically. Additionally, he shared that he was “disappointed” in himself.
The negative attention got so prevelant that paparazzi camped outside of his house for weeks following the February interview, Chris recalled. In an attempt to avoid the cameras, the talk show host would sneak through his neighbor’s backyard where a friend would be ready to pick him up.
As for his firing, Chris issued a public apology via Instagram one day after defending Rachael.
"To my Bachelor Nation family – I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. 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,” the former sports reporter wrote.
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 deeply sorry."