'Bachelor' Host Chris Harrison Says 'It Was a Mistake' to Defend Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell

"I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake, and I own that," he said in a clip from an upcoming Good Morning America interview

Chris Harrison
Chris Harrison. Photo: Eric McCandless/Getty Images

Chris Harrison is admitting he made a "mistake" by defending Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions.

In a preview of Harrison's upcoming interview with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, which will air Thursday, the longtime host of the franchise said he is taking responsibility.

"It was a mistake," Harrison, 49, said when asked by Strahan why he defended Kirkconnell in a February interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. "I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake, and I own that."

For more on Chris Harrison's Good Morning America interview, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.

Since the current season featuring Matt James as the Bachelor began, old social media posts of Kirkconnell's have resurfaced, showing the graphic designer wearing Native American attire as a costume and attending an Antebellum South-themed ball.

In a Feb. 9 interview with Lindsay for Extra, Harrison said that there should be "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," for Kirkconnell, adding that things are viewed in a different "lens" in 2021 than 2018.

"Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a big difference," Harrison said after Lindsay noted that attending an Old South party was "not a good look."

Chris Harrison, Rachael Kirkconnell
Rachael Kirkconnell, Chris Harrison. Rachel Kirkconnell/instagram; getty images

"It's not a good look ever," Lindsay replied, "because she's celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?"

Backlash towards Harrison's comments came quickly from fans, prompting an apology from the host, who later stepped down for an unspecified amount of time. Former NFL player and author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Emmanuel Acho has been tapped to take Harrison's place as host of the upcoming After the Final Rose special.

RELATED VIDEO: Rachel Lindsay Says It Was the 'Right Decision' for Chris Harrison to Step Aside as Bachelor Host

Since the Extra interview, Kirkconnell has spoken out, issuing an apology on Instagram and later sharing a video asking people who are defending her to "please stop."

James has also spoken out on the situation, saying that the controversy — "including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison" — has been "devastating and heartbreaking, to put it bluntly."

On Wednesday, Lindsay said that she thinks the franchise should wait on another season until the issues are resolved.

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"You're gonna go into another season, but you still have all these issues. How have you fixed them coming into a new season?" she said on her Higher Learning podcast. "You really haven't. So I think that they need to take a beat, figure things out, regroup and then bring the product back to us [in] a way that we can all enjoy it the way that we used to."

While several Bachelor franchise alums have come out in support of Lindsay, the podcast host has received so much online harassment in the midst of the controversy that she deleted her Instagram account. Producers, who a source previously told PEOPLE are working behind the scenes to "make "appropriate changes," condemned the harassment in a statement Monday.

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