“We are aware of the developments around Chris Harrison and his role as host of The Bachelor,” a spokeswoman for P&G said in a statement to AdAge on Tuesday, February 16. “We are in the process of gathering more information about these circumstances to determine our next steps. We are deeply disappointed in his comments, which do not reflect our values.”
The Bachelor franchise has been part of a new Whitening Emulsions campaign and Harrison filmed a new ad, originally set to air next month.
The host, 49, came under fire following a February 9 interview on Extra, during which he defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell who was pictured at an Old South plantation-themed party in 2018.
“I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, that’s it,” he told former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay 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. Where is this lens were holding up and was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018? I don’t know.”
When the former attorney, 35, said that regardless, the photos are “not a good look,” Harrison responded, “Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? … I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018.”
Following backlash from the interview, the Perfect Letter author released an apology, admitting his “words were harmful” to many, posting via Instagram, “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.”
On Saturday, February 13, he announced that he will be “stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special” that’s set to air at the end of Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor.
Kirkconnell, 24, also apologized for her past posts, vowing to do better. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them,” the graphic designer posted via Instagram. “My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”