"I made a mistake, and I own that"
We were all a little surprised to see Chris Harrison doing an interview with Michael Strahan this morning, complete with another apology and a plan for the future of The Bachelor. If you pay attention to the Bachelor world, you know that Chris Harrison is in trouble, they've been showing as little of him as possible on the already pre-filmed shows we have left of this season because of it, and he will not be hosting the finale After The Final Rose special.
I can be nothing but honest about how I feel in writing this blog. I think this entire situation was certainly worth the discussion it's bringing, but it feels like we're getting a little nuts with the Chris Harrison SHAME tour. The problem itself, Chris's dismissive, rude conversation with Rachel Lindsay, is something that you should have watched entirely before making the decision on how you feel about this whole thing. I know probably 10% of the world watched the full 13 minute clip, but I feel strongly that it's important to see and truly understand both sides of this mess. People who only watched 5 minutes or so can either say Chris Harrison is an asshole with privilege and an out of touch old man, or they could say Rachel Lindsay is bombarding him without any knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes and trying to ruin a girl's life. That's a HUGE spectrum of thoughts. I think, at this point, we all can agree to speculate that it's going to be Rachael Kirkconnell winning this season with Matt James. Chris Harrison, knowing this, went onto Rachel Lindsay's show to "defend" the likely ALREADY SELECTED season winner. I don't think anyone should have a problem with Chris trying to tell Rachel and America that we shouldn't ruin this girl's entire life over a liked picture and her attendance at a stupid, ignorantly-themed party in college. The problem with that interview in my eyes, was how Chris spoke to Rachel. He blew her right off when being asked to comment on RACISM. Someone who has had 20+ years of PR training and live TV appearances, forgot everything he ever learned and word vomited all over live TV. If you watch the video, you can clearly see Chris snap when Rachel questions him. I imagine he was behind the scenes, getting it from all sides, and with 4 episodes left including the problematic contestant in question, lost his mind at the prospect of the entire season being blown up and this girl's life ruined over what seems to be one of the tamest offenses I've seen coming from problematic people. Even the way he was talking to Rachel when he started losing it, throwing hail marys and acting like 2018 was a decade ago, came across to me as desperate attempts to diffuse the situation and not ruin the season's end. Chris had the show on his brain, and forgot how to act like a human being on a VERY public stage. It's like when you get in a fight with someone, and you're making really great points, but then they make an even BETTER point, and you just start saying "WELL, FUCK YOU!" In my eyes, it was irresponsible and childish of Chris to seemingly let his emotions about the show get in the way of what COULD have been an honest conversation about race. I think without Chris's interview fuck up, we're not even in this position.
Which, I'm sure, is why he did this interview with Michael, tail between his legs. He has now, for the third time, acknowledged and apologized for his words to Rachel. The argument is made that Chris's behavior isn't uncommon for those who know him personally, and that this was just the straw breaking the camel's back, leaving the door open to oust Chris and shake the entire franchise up. Something people have been asking for, for a long time. Do I think Chris Harrison should be fired for this? No, I really don't. Do I think he should be replaced? I think he was probably going to be phased out soon, the show could always use a revamp, and it's impossible to ignore the lack of diversity. Chris stepping down from the finale, and potentially not hosting the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, to me feels like an opportunity to set this in motion. But to cut him out, cold turkey, and introduce someone new that maybe no one knows? It would tank the show. I think the smart thing here, is to begin Chris's transition out, but with his help. Bachelor fans are DIEHARD for Chris, myself included honestly, and I can't see the show being as popular as it is in the future if this is the way his road ends. Not because he's such an important part of the actual show, but it's hard to ignore that he's been cemented as the figurehead for many years, and his most loyal fans will boycott the franchise without him. I think the message of "owning your mistakes and learning from them" is much more valuable than banishing someone for life, for making a mistake. I think the network has some serious work to do, and they should use Chris as one of the talk-pieces for that until the show is in a spot where it can live on without him.
In his interview with Michael, Chris said he was told that we should start saying "council, not cancel" to those who have made mistakes. Encouraging people to seek out what exactly it was that they did, helping them to understand why it was wrong, and giving them the chance to grow from it. I'm sure this was a PR phrase and a little bit of lip service, but I'm on board with it. People fuck up. I said in my initial blog about this that I was disappointed in Chris Harrison, and I am. Mostly because I can't believe he could be so stupid. I like to think he's a much smarter man than that display with Rachel, and I hope he can gain the trust back of ALL of Bachelor Nation, as well as those who were offended by his words.