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Chris Harrison Speaks Out After ‘The Bachelor’ Controversy: ‘I Made a Mistake’

Chris Harrison spoke out following his controversial Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay, which led to his decision to step away from the Bachelor franchise.

Related: Bachelor Nation Reacts to Chris Harrison Stepping Aside

“It was a mistake,” Harrison, 49, said in a sneak peek of his Good Morning America interview, which will air on Thursday, March 4. “I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake. And I own that.”

The controversy began with Lindsay, 35, interviewing Harrison for Extra on February 9 amid allegations of racism within the Bachelor franchise. The longtime host defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos resurfaced online of her attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal years earlier, calling for fans to have “grace” toward her.

Chris Harrison on The Bachelor Chris Harrison Speaks Out On GMA
Chris Harrison on ‘The Bachelor’ ABC/Craig Sjodin

He subsequently apologized for his comments and, days later, announced that he would be “stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”

Kirkconnell, 24, also apologized for her past behavior. She later asked fans to stop defending her amid the controversy. The Georgia native made the final three on Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor and is expected to speak about the scandal with Emmanuel Acho, who is stepping in as the host of the After the Final Rose special, when it airs on Monday, March 15.

Related: A Timeline of Chris Harrison and Rachel Lindsay's Interview — and the Fallout

On February 26, the former Bachelorette deactivated her Instagram account. Her “Higher Learning” podcast co-host Van Lathan confirmed the news via Instagram the same day.

c Reveals Why She Inactivated Her Instagram Extra Interview Chris Harrison
Chris Harrison and Chris Harrison Extra

“My cohost on ‘Higher Learning,’ Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today,” he said. “She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from Bachelor fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say.”

Related: Bachelor Stars Defends Rachel Lindsay After She Quits IG Due to Harassment

Lathan said in the clip that cyberbullies should “get a f–king life,” adding that their anger is misdirected. “Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these present 2021 times,” he said. “She’s not responsible for that. It’s not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn’t understand what the f–k triggers people in today’s world.”

Us editors discuss Colton Underwood’s coming out in this Here for the Right Reasons podcast highlight!

While Harrison wasn’t quick to speak out in defense of Lindsay, many Bachelor Nation members were. Even Kirkconnell, whom the Texas native called out over past racially insensitive behavior, applauded her and called on social media users to back down.

“You have the opportunity to make a positive difference, to use your energy towards change, and to come together and realize what’s right in a time like this,” the season 25 Bachelor competitor wrote in a statement on Instagram on Saturday, February 27. “If you are choosing to rather spread hate, to send cruel, vicious messages, to be mad about people being hurt by racism…do better. Be better.”

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