Good Morning America host Michael Strahan blasted his ABC colleague Bachelor host Chris Harrison on Thursday morning by suggesting Harrison’s apology for defending a racism scandal on his show were insincere and just a means of getting his job back.
Harrison took an indefinite leave of absence from the show after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, 24, for an attending an ‘Old South’, plantation-themed party in 2018.
He defended her during an interview on February 10 with Rachael Lindsay, the first black Bachelorette, saying: ‘Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference…. the woke police are out there. They are ripping this poor girl’s life apart.’
Harrison apologized for the remarks on Instagram over the weekend after uproar.
He then appeared on Good Morning America on Thursday in an interview with Strahan to directly apologize to Lindsay for being so ‘insensitive’ and to announce that he would be returning to the show and ‘be part of the change’.
Strahan was not convinced, telling his co-hosts after the interview had concluded: ‘His apology is his apology but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response – obviously, he’s a man who clearly wants to stay on the show.
‘Time will tell if there’s any meaning behind his words.’
It came amid record-low ratings for the show, which has long been accused or racism. The most recent episode drew an audience of 4million – down from 6million last season.
The current star, Matt James, is the first black Bachelor in the show’s 25 seasons and nine-year run. Lindsay was the first black Bachelorette in 2017.
Chris Harrison told Good Morning America, in an episode airing Thursday, he ‘made a mistake’ and that he wanted to be ‘part of the change’ within The Bachelor franchise, which has a long been accused of racism
Strahan said: ‘His apology is his apology but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response – obviously, he’s a man who clearly wants to stay on the show.’
Good Morning America and The Bachelor are both ABC shows. Representatives for each show did not immediately respond to inquiries on Thursday morning.
During the interview, Harrison said: ‘It was a mistake. I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man.
‘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.
‘I plan to be back and I want to be back. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. I am excited to be part of that change.’
Harrison, 49, abruptly departed the show mid-season on February 13. He earns $8million per year. Strahan earns a reported $17million salary.
The row began when photos of Kirkconnell at the 2018 party resurfaced online.
Sleuths also unearthed posts containing Confederate flags which she had ‘liked’.
She went on Instagram to apologize and to thank fans for ‘holding her accountable’. She is one of three remaining contestants on the show.
Harrison then tried to claim that the three-year-old photo should be seen in the context of the time.
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
Pictured: Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell on Matt James’s season of The Bachelor
Harrison called for ‘a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion’ for Kirkconnell, adding that he thought it was ‘unbelievably alarming’ to watch because ‘people are just tearing this girl’s life apart.’
Rachael apologized on Instagram, saying: ‘Thank you for holding me accountable’
He implied that she was the victim of cancel culture, adding: ‘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,’ he said.
Lindsay told him: ‘Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party – that’s not a good look.’
Harrison replied: ‘Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.’
‘It’s not a good look ever because she’s celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?’
She later said in her podcast that he spoke over her throughout their interview and did not want to listen to her opinion.
Lindsay has since deactivated her Instagram account, claiming she is receiving racist abuse from Harrison’s online fans.
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’
Lindsay (during their interview) was the show’s first black Bachelorette. She confronted Harrison when he defended the Old South themed party, saying: ‘If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?’
James called both the photographs of Kirkconnell and the comments made by Harrison ‘incredibly disappointing’.
‘The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly.
‘Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South was troubling and painful to watch.
‘It was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.
‘I will continue to process this experience and you will hear more from me in the end,’ he said.
He made his choice on who will win the final rose before the scandal came to light and viewers are still unaware of who he chose.
On Thursday, he pleaded with them to stop, saying: ‘To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachael Lindsay, please stop. It is unacceptable.’
As public anger soared over the scandal, the show’s ratings plummeted.
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’
The most recent episode – The Women Tell All – drew the lowest audience of the season with just 4.5 million viewers.
Emmanuel Acho will replace Harrison as the host of the final episode of the season
The average for the season is 5million per episode compared to 6million last season.
Emmanuel Acho, a black football linebacker, will replace him as the host of the show for the After The Final Rose episode, which is yet to be filmed.
Then, judging by Harrison’s remarks on Thursday, he will return.
He said in his interview that he had been working with a ‘race educator’ and that he was learning about the philosophy of ‘counsel not cancel’.
‘Racism, oppression – these are big dynamic problems and they take serious work.
‘I am committed to that work. Dr Dyson often talks to me about counsel not cancel.
‘That is full accountability.
‘Understanding what you didn’t understand. Owning that, learning from that- seeking counsel in the community you hurt gaining experience knowledge and moving forward,’ he said.
He added: ‘I am not a victim here – I made a mistake and I own that.’ He also said in the interview that he was an ‘imperfect man’.