Now let’s look at the Chris Harrison side of things. First off, if you still can watch his interview on “Extra” and think, “What’s the big deal?,” frankly you might wanna read a book. Or use Google. Because there were so many things wrong with that interview that, geez, I feel it’s been driven into our heads. The @theblckchelorettes video last week summed up exactly why Chris completely missed the boat with his opinion. Please take the time to watch this. And if you’re immediate reaction is, “Ugh I don’t need a black woman explaining anything to me and lecturing me on this,” – you’re racist. Period. No if’s and’s or but’s.
There are others out there who explained it well too. Taylor Nolan (this weeks podcast guest) did an excellent job. Sharleen Joynt in her recap from last week did as well. So many options out there that I hope you take the time to read.
But I want to move past that part since we’ve had almost a week to dissect WHAT Chris said. One thing that really hurt Chris, you know, besides the 13 straight minutes of ignorance, was the fact that when Rachel did her “Higher Learning” podcast with Van Lathan on Thursday and gave her first opinion on the interview, she said she wasn’t thrilled with Chris’ apology because he texted her afterwards and never mentioned anything about “Oh I shouldn’t have said that.” He clearly felt that interview was fine and nothing he said he’d be called out for. So let’s be real, Chris’ first apology last Wednesday was horseshit. He said for 13 minutes what he believed. That’s what he thought. And in his mind, his beliefs weren’t racist or problematic in any way. And he proved that by texting Rachel after the fact and not mentioning anything. So to then 24 hrs later apologize, yeah, very insincere and he was only apologizing because people were coming for his head. Not because he actually believed what he said was wrong, ignorant, racist, tone deaf, and however else you want to describe it.
Not to mention that apology itself was made even WORSE the next day when Rachael comes in and says that, “Yeah, what I did was racist and there’s no excuse.” Yet here’s Chris the day before saying “Eh it looked to me like it was a girl in a dress at a party.” Good Lord that interview was bad. Anyway, once Rachael’s apology came, someone half his age sounding 10x better, I had a feeling Chris was in trouble. Even tweeted on Friday that I didn’t know what was gonna happen to him, but don’t be surprised if he was fired because there was a precedent for it. Hell, Megyn Kelly got fired from her TV show for one “blackface as a Halloween costume” comment. Chris did 13 straight minutes showing his ass on ignorant and racist beliefs, all while essentially telling a black woman how she should be feeling. Not to mention the passive aggressive “I don’t know Rachel, what is the right thing here” BS, which is basically him telling you EXACTLY how he feels about the situation (which was he didn’t think it was a big deal) but deflecting it into the interviewer like it’s somehow her issue. So once Rachael’s apology came, then men from Tayshia’s season and women from Matt’s season were putting out statements on their IG standing in solidarity with each other and denouncing racism in the franchise, including from its “leader” and host, I knew Chris was in serious trouble.
So on Saturday Chris releases this statement:
In it, he says he’ll be “stepping aside for a period of time,” and the one show he mentions specifically he won’t be a part of is the ATFR, which tapes in a couple weeks. Well, that’s a start. But assuming “Bachelorette” is still going on as planned, that begins filming in a month. Do we really think Chris can be remotely rehabbed and will have learned his lesson in a month? No chance. He AT LEAST needs to sit out one full season. And even that probably isn’t enough. @BachDiversity is running with this campaign right now, and really, it’s tough to argue with:
Rachel essentially said the same thing when she went on CNN last night with Don Lemon:
Chris Harrison, host of more than 25 seasons across “The Bachelor” franchise, steps aside after facing criticism for his comments about a contestant’s racially insensitive social media posts.
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 16, 2021
How do you bring the face of this franchise back when you know these were his core beliefs and this show needs major change? You know where the first major change would start? At the top. And that’s Chris’ job. Also, this isn’t “I can’t believe they’d fire him for one mistake.” First, it was a 13 minute interview, not a one sentence slap on the wrist. And secondly, there’s been plenty of other problematic things Chris has said in the past that, while people have pointed out at the time, never got the coverage this is getting. And let’s just say they DO decide to bring him back. What does that look like? What does their statement say? What will Chris have to show/prove that he’s taken the necessary steps to improve upon for the right to earn his job back? That’s why someone from the network needs to speak out and soon.
Chris Harrison, while no doubt the face of this franchise, can be replaced. What he does on the show is not an integral part of this machine that’s been streaming down the tracks for the last 18 years and 41 seasons. While it’ll look different, and maybe some people will be pissed off enough to never watch again, it IS manageable to do without him and replacing him with someone else. Who that person may be? We don’t know. Could be someone from the franchise, might not. However for the time being, the ATFR should absolutely be hosted by Rachel Lindsay. That’s a no brainer, and if she doesn’t want to do it, then get Tayshia or Mike Johnson. Yes, it should be hosted by a POC due to the nature of where we’re at this season with this particular storyline. You know what else I’d like to see at the ATFR? A POC round table discussion on race, Chris Harrison, and this show. Why not? All black contestants, while I’m sure they’re tired of explaining it, on stage for a national audience to see them tell America why they feel neglected in this franchise. And why they were so hurt by what Chris said. It’d be one of the most powerful things this show could do, not to mention, a step in the right direction to say to the audience, “Hey, we’re trying to be more transparent and have open and honest discussions about race.” Rachel Lindsay moderating a panel of POC like Taylor Nolan, Mike Johnson, Eric Bigger, Natasha Parker, etc. You name anyone you’d like to be a part of it. The point being it’s ALL POC, and they tell America exactly why they feel the way they do. Will the show do it? Probably not. And THAT’S why this show has identity crisis right now. They are in serious trouble if they don’t steer this ship in the right direction. I just gave them a small GPS to at least get them on course.
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