GMA's Michael Strahan Calls Bachelor Host Chris Harrison's Apology a 'Surface Response'
Strahan, 49, sat down virtually with Harrison during Thursday's broadcast of Good Morning America. It was Harrison's first TV interview since he announced that he would "be stepping aside" from the show "for a period of time" following his controversial discussion with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, in which he partially defended current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell had come under fire for resurfaced social media posts, which saw her dressed in Native American attire in costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed college party in 2018. She has since apologized.
For more on Chris Harrison's Good Morning America interview, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.
"It was a mistake, I made a mistake," Harrison, 49, told Strahan. "I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake, and I own that."
At the end of the interview, Harrison eyed a return to the franchise, saying, "I plan to be back and I want to be back," adding that he is "committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise."
"This interview is not the finish line," he said. "There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change."
Strahan agreed that there's work to be done, and later told his co-hosts that Harrison's apology felt superficial.
"His apology is his apology, but it felt like nothing more than a surface response on any of this," he said. "I mean, obviously, he's a man who clearly wants to stay on this show, but only time will tell if there is any meaning behind his words."
Earlier in his interview with Strahan, Harrison extended an apology to Lindsay, 35, as well as the Black community, for initially questioning the "lens" of 2021 compared to 2018 and saying people should have "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" in the wake of Kirkconnell's resurfaced photos.
"There is not [a difference between 2018 and 2021]. Antebellum parties are not okay, past, present, future. Knowing what that represents is unacceptable," he said. "I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I didn't speak for my heart, that is to say I stand against all forms of racism ... I'm sorry to Rachel Lindsay, and I'm sorry to the Black community."
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Upon receiving backlash for his remarks about Kirkconnell during the Extra interview, Harrison first apologized on Feb. 10. A few days later, he apologized for a second time and said he would be "stepping aside" from the franchise for an unspecified amount of time.
It was recently announced that Emmanuel Acho — who hosts the web series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and authored a best-selling book by the same name — would be stepping in to host the upcoming After the Final Rose special later this month. The episode will mark the official conclusion to the current season starring Matt James, the franchise's first male Black lead.
Acho will also sit down with the final three women: Kirkconnell, Bri Springs and Michelle Young.
The Bachelor: After the Final Rose will air on Monday, March 15 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, immediately following the season finale of The Bachelor.