After the taped interview, during which Harrison, 49, apologized again for defending Rachael Kirkconnell‘s racially charged Instagram posts from 2018, the former NFL star, also 49, shared his thoughts.
“His apology is his apology, but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this,” Strahan said on Thursday. “Obviously he’s a man who wants to clearly stay on the show, but only time will tell if there’s any meaning behind his words.”
During the conversation, Harrison said he hopes to return as host of the franchise. Last month, he announced he would be stepping aside and would not host the After the Final Rose special. Emmanuel Acho was later announced as the replacement host.
“I plan to be back and I want to be back,” he said on Good Morning America. “This interview is not the finish line, there is much more work to be done and I am excited to be a part of that change.”
The controversy began on February 9 when Harrison defended Kirkconnell, 24, during an interview with Rachel Lindsay on Extra. At the time, he questioned whether the Bachelor contestant attending an Old South-themed party in 2018 was wrong or if it was just wrong under a 2021 lens. Lindsay, 35, who was the first Black lead the franchise had, also later explained that Harrison wouldn’t really let her talk during their interview.
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay,” the Perfect Letter author said on Thursday. “I didn’t speak from my heart, and that is to say I stand against all forms of racism and I am deeply sorry. I talked to Rachel, not since she deactivated her Instagram account, but I talked with Rachel initially, and I apologized and I want to do so again: I am incredibly sorry. To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It is unacceptable.”
Lindsay deactivated her Instagram on Friday, February 26, after a massive amount of bullying and racism was directed toward her. She shared via her “Higher Learning” podcast on Tuesday, March 2, that disabling her account “was the best decision that I could do for myself to detach from that negativity.”
Harrison, who said he’s working with faith leaders, scholars, a “race educator and a strategist” in order to better himself, noted that he owns his mistake.
“I am not a victim here,” the former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host told Strahan. “Racism, oppression, these are big dynamic problems and they take serious work and I am committed to that work.”
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