“I was very disappointed. Chris Harrison is someone that I respected highly and I’m not gonna lie, I definitely lost respect for him after watching that interview,” the Bachelorette winner, 41, said on his “Talking It Out” podcast with Mike Johnson on Monday, February 15. “What he said was irresponsible. It was hurtful. It was just flat-out unacceptable. Now, we’re not talking about past contestants of the show, who pretty much come and go, right? We’re talking about the face of this franchise — 20 plus years of this man being on our television screens on a show that’s been needing a diversity makeover for years.”
On Tuesday, February 9, Lindsay, 35, interviewed Harrison, 39, during Extra and the pair discussed Matt James‘ contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell, 24, came under fire after photos surfaced of her at an “Old South”-themed party at a Georgia plantation in 2018.
“I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, that’s it,” the Bachelor host told the former Bachelorette during the interview. “My guess? These girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were 18 years old. Now, does that make it OK? I don’t know Rachel, you tell me. Were we all looking through [that lens] in 2018?”
When the attorney said that it’s “not a good look” no matter what year the photos were taken, Harrison asked, “Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?”
The next day, Harrison called Lindsay, she revealed on her “Higher Learning” podcast. “He had no problems with it. He was fine. He texted me after, he appreciated the conversation. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get a little flack, but I thought it was great that we could disagree, but do it in a civil way,’” she said, noting that after the backlash began, that’s when he released an apology.
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On Wednesday, February 10, the Texas native wrote via Instagram that he was “deeply sorry” for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.” On Saturday, February 13, he announced that he would be “stepping aside” from the franchise for some time and would not be hosting the After the Final Rose special at the end of this season of The Bachelor.
During Abasolo’s interview, he noted that it was tough to see this happen after the franchise seemingly began making changes by casting James, 29, as the first Black Bachelor.
“Then Chris comes out and says this, and it just made me wonder, like, ‘Damn, is this how everybody at the top feels?’ I mean, I hope that isn’t the case,” he said. “But he is the figurehead.”
The chiropractor added that what upset him the most was when he asked Lindsay “Who are you?” to decide when Kirkconnell should apologize. (On Thursday, February 11, Kirkconnell shared a lengthy apology on her Instagram for the photos.)
“It didn’t feel good watching my wife sit up there and get disrespected like that,” Abasolo said. “I’ll tell you who she is, Chris. She’s Rachel motherf–king Lindsay. A strong Black woman, a pioneer in this franchise, the realist Bachelorette who tells it like it is and quite frankly, the best thing to ever happen to this franchise. That’s who she is. So that’s what I have to say about that. That’s what upset me the most.”