ABC viewers were furious to see Chris Harrison appear on Thursday night’s episode of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune just days after he announced was ‘stepping aside’ from The Bachelor franchise following his controversial comments.
Harrison came under fire earlier this month during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra! in which he defended the actions of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.
Kirkconnell was accused of racism after photos emerged of her at a 2018 event described as an ‘antebellum plantation-themed ball.’
Harrison urged people to show the 24-year-old ‘compassion’ and said she was being attacked by the ‘woke police.’
ABC made it clear the episode was filmed months ago by adding a disclaimer at the beginning of the episode that read: ‘This episode was previously recorded in December 2020.’
Dozens of people took to social media to express their anger over the network deciding to air the game show in the first place.
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ABC viewers were angry that Chris Harrison appeared on Thursday’s episode of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (above) after his controversial comments, despite ABC adding a disclaimer that the episode was filmed in December 2020
Dozens of people took to social media to express their anger over Harrison’s appearance on the program
‘Chris Harrison playing celebrity wheel tonight YIKES,’ wrote one Twitter user.
Another tweeted: ‘Man the last person I wanted to see on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune was Chris Harrison.’
After Harrison won more than $50,000 for the charity Feeding America, one user joked: ‘Chris Harrison for real about to get canceled and win Celebrity Wheel of Fortune in the same week.’
In early February, photos surfaced of Kirkconnell at a plantation-themed party as well as history showing she had liked photos on social media of the Confederate flag.
When Harrison sat down for an interview with Lindsay, he said that people should show ‘compassion’ toward Kirkconnell.
‘Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?’ Harrison asked.
‘It’s not a good look ever because she’s celebrating the Old South,’ Lindsay replied. ‘If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?’
During an interview, with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay (above), Harrison defended the actions of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who attended a plantation-themed ball, and said people show show ‘compassion’
Harrison issued an apology on Saturday saying he is ‘ashamed’ of the ‘pain’ he has caused to people of color and that he is committed to ‘evolve and be a better man’
‘I don’t disagree with you,’ Harrison said.
‘You’re 100 percent right – in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. Again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018… that was a type of party that a lot of people went to.
‘The woke police is out there. And this poor girl Rachael, who has just been thrown to the lions, I don’t know how you are equipped when you have never done this before, to be woke enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this.’
After his comments received a lot of flack, Harrison announced he would be taking a break from the ABC reality television dating show he has hosted since 2002.
The 49-year-old issued a statement on his Instagram account on Saturday saying he is ‘ashamed’ of the ‘pain’ he has caused to people of color and that he is committed to ‘evolve and be a better man.’
Photos surfaced of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell at a plantation-themed party in 2018 as well as a history of liking photos with the Confederate flag
Harrison announced he is ‘stepping aside’ from the show and will not be hosting the After the Final Rose special due to air after the season final. Pictured: Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell on Matt James’s season of The Bachelor
‘I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful,’ Harrison wrote in the long Instagram post.
‘My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke.
‘By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term “woke police,” which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uniformed I was. I was so wrong.’
Harrison apologized to the g Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community for his ‘harmful’ words and thanked people who had held ‘enlightening conversations’ with him on his ‘path to anti-racism.’
‘To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you,’ he wrote.
‘I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people from these communities who I’ve had enlightening conversations with over the past few days, and I am so grateful to those who have reached out to help me on my path to anti-racism.’
Harrison said he would not appear on the After the Final Rose special to air after The Bachelor season finale. It’s unclear who will be hosting.