The first Black Bachelorette is getting some justice. Rachel Lindsay reacted to The Bachelor host Chris Harrison's decision to step away from his post after his now-infamous interview with her, during which he defended current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell against criticism for racially insensitive social media posts that resurfaced online. The host later apologized for his remarks and announced he was "stepping aside" from the show to get educated "on a more profound and productive level" about racism.
On Monday, Feb. 15, the Extra correspondent told fellow host Billy Bush that Harrison made "the right decision" to step aside for the time being. "Like he said, he needs to take time to get educated and on a profound and productive level to use his word," Lindsay said. "And I think he needs to understand what was done, what was wrong, and what he said in that interview."
In their conversation, Harrison said that Kirkconnell deserved "compassion" and blamed the scandal on "woke police" who were judging her for doing something he said "50 million people did" in 2018. Kirkconnell later addressed her posts, which included photos of her in a Native American costume and at an antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018, saying that her "ignorance was racist" and apologizing for her actions. "At one point, I didn't recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn't excuse them," she wrote.
Following the interview, Harrison apologized to Lindsay and promised to do better going forward. "My intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf," he wrote. "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. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of."
Lindsay told Bush that it was hard to accept Harrison's apology considering it came after the fact. "I'm going to need that time and space and compassion that he referenced to really accept the apology," she explained. "I’m not saying I can’t get there. It’s just, initially, it’s a little tough for me." Her husband and Bachelorette winner Bryan Abasolo agrees, as he explained to fellow contestant Mike Johnson on Feb. 15. "Chris Harrison is someone that I respected highly and I'm not gonna lie, I definitely lost respect for him after watching that interview," he said. "I thought what he said was irresponsible, it was hurtful, and it was just flat-out unacceptable."
As for the future, Lindsay wants to see Harrison's actions before deciding whether he should be fired permanently or keep his job. "I don't want to play into things too quick to judge someone," she said. "Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Do I agree with what happened in that interview? No. But at the same time, he has taken the steps to not issue one but two apologies. Let's see what happens from there."