Chris Harrison The announcement that he would be stepping down as host of “The Bachelor” indefinitely following controversial remarks he made has reignited the conversation about the reality TV franchise’s problematic history regarding issues of race and diversity.
Harrison was interviewed by Rachel Lindsay, a current Extra presenter and former 2017 ‘The Bachelorette’ star, when he defended a current nominee who was allegedly pictured at a formal planting-themed fraternity ceremony before the war in 2018.
Harrison has since apologized, writing on his Instagram that he was “deeply remorseful” for the pain and damage his “ignorance” had caused to his “friends, colleagues and strangers”, before announcing that he would take a “period” from his hospitality duties during this “historic season” of “The Bachelor,” which features the show’s first black lead role, Matt James.
The franchise, which began in 2002, didn’t pick a person of color as its leader until Lindsay, who is Black. Now she has said she no longer wants to be associated with the show.
“I’m exhausted. I’m really tired of it, ”Lindsay said in the latest episode of her Higher Learning podcast after her interview with Harrison. “How much do I want to be affiliated with this?” I said I was going to leave if they didn’t have any colored leads. Okay, they did, and they made other changes. They hired a diversity consultant. Who does not Do not attend class? Didn’t Chris Harrison witness this? I can not stand it anymore. I am contractually bound in some way. But when it’s over, so am I.
When James was cast on “The Bachelor” last summer, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in a statement, “We know we have a responsibility to make sure that the love stories we we see on screen are representative of the world we live in, and we proudly serve our audiences. “
Her casting followed a Change.org petition calling on ABC and Warner Bros., which produces “The Bachelor,” to improve the diversity of the series and its spinoff shows.
“The franchise, and all who represent it, should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country – both in front of and behind the camera,” the petition says. (Like CNN, Warner Bros. is part of WarnerMedia.)
Following Harrison’s interview with Lindsay, contestants on the current season of “The Bachelor” posted a joint statement on Instagram, writing in part, “We’re the women of The Bachelor Season 25.” [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] were cast on this historic season which was meant to represent change. We are deeply disappointed and would like to point out that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continuing experiences of the individuals of BIPOC. These experiences should not be exploited or symbolized. “
Despite the addition of more colored contestants in recent seasons – and the casting of Juan Pablo Galavis, who is Latino, as Season 18’s “Bachelor” – critics and fans of the franchise have said the work towards progress remains.
Harrison, for his part, suggested that he accept.
“I am determined to be educated on a deeper and more productive level than ever before,” Harrison said in his statement. “I want to assure our cast and crew, to my friends, colleagues and fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to a much better understanding which I will actively do every day.”
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