GMA's Michael Strahan calls Bachelor host Chris Harrison's apology a 'surface response'
The Bachelor host Chris Harrison appeared on Good Morning America today to apologize for defending a contestant's racist actions, but GMA host Michael Strahan didn't seem convinced.
Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison gave his first public interview since "stepping aside" from the ABC show temporarily in the wake of a racism controversy on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday. But it appeared that the ABC morning show host was not impressed by Harrison's apology.
"I'm an imperfect man," Harrison told GMA host Michael Strahan. "I made a mistake and I own that. I believe that mistake doesn't reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to the progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise."
Harrison apologized for statements he made in his Feb. 9 EXTRA interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, in which he was accused of — and later admitted to — defending racism. But, though he repeatedly insisted that he's "committed" to changing himself and the franchise, Strahan later deemed the apology a "surface response."
The host first landed in hot water after defending current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos surfaced of her attending a "plantation-themed" party in 2018. (Kirkconnell later apologized for her "racist and offensive" actions.)
Harrison said of his controversial interview remarks: "Antebellum parties are not okay — past, present, future. Knowing what that represents is unacceptable... I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. And I didn't speak from my heart, and that is to say I stand against all forms of racism and I am deeply sorry. I'm sorry to Rachel Lindsay, and I'm sorry to the Black community."
Since speaking up about the interview and the Bachelor franchise's problematic history with BIPOC contestants, Lindsay received so much online toxicity and hate that she had to deactivate her Instagram account. On GMA, Harrison offered this response to fans who bullied Lindsay: "To anyone who is throwing hate toward Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It is unacceptable."
Strahan reported that Harrison is now working with a "race educator and strategies," as well as clergy like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Harrison told Strahan that he's "committed" to making positive changes in himself as well as the Bachelor franchise. "Racism, oppression, these are big, dynamic problems and they take serious work, and I am committed to that work," he said.
Though there is a contingent of fans who think Harrison should be fired from the franchise, the host indicated that he isn't going anywhere. "I plan to be back and I want to be back," he told Strahan. "This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done, and I'm excited to be a part of that change."
After playing the pre-taped interview, Strahan discussed it with his co-hosts in the GMA studio. "It felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this," he said. "Obviously he's a man who wants to clearly stay on this show, but only time will tell if there's any meaning behind his words."