The former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise contestant said that, while Harrison should exit the show, he doesn't want to "cancel" him completely

By Katie Campione
February 17, 2021 12:26 AM
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Credit: Raymond Hall/GC Images

Mike Johnson is the latest person in Bachelor Nation to speak out about Chris Harrison's controversial interview with Rachel Lindsay.

Johnson said Tuesday that he thinks Harrison should exit The Bachelor franchise in light of his comments, but he doesn't think the host should be "canceled" completely.

"I think that when we cancel people, it's almost too easy. I feel that those individuals that have done something wrong need to say it with their chest, in other regards, as well," Johnson told Lindsay in an interview for Extra.

"Once they've been educated and learn in a public forum in comparison to riding the waves with millions of dollars and just never to be heard from again… I don't want to cancel the individual, I want the individual to speak up, speak to their audience, and curb their mindset."

He continued, "Let me speak direct — should the individual be removed from The Bachelor franchise? I think it's time for that.  Should that individual be removed completely? No, because I think that individual has such a beautiful platform, it's such a beautiful privilege that we have to use it for good."

Harrison has temporarily stepped away from the show and will not host the After the Final Rose special after apologizing for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism" during a conversation with Lindsay in which he defended current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racist social media posts.

chris harrison, rachel lindsay, rachael kirkconnellell
Credit: rachael kirkconnell/instagram, getty images (2)

At the time, before Kirkconnell issued her own apology, Harrison said that fans should have "a little grace" before condemning her for the posts, which included photos of her dressed in Native American attire as a costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed ball

Since then, many of the franchise's contestants have spoken out in the wake of Lindsay's interview with Harrison, including Tayshia Adams and the men from season 16 of The Bachelorette, as well as the BIPOC women who are on the current season of The Bachelor.

Johnson said he was proud of the women from the current season who chose to condemn Harrison's comments, considering some are still on the show.

"I have to commend the ladies that are currently on this show still who spoke out…" he said. "But for them to do that shows that it's more important than anything else. And then they did it in such a way that you're not going to get mad at everybody, you know, and so I was really like, 'Good move, ladies, good move, ladies.' I was really, really happy for them."

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

Lindsay also brought up Bachelor Matt James, who has said little about Kirkconnell — who is considered a frontrunner for his season — or Harrison.

"A person we really haven't heard from is Matt. Do you think Matt should speak out?" she asked Johnson.

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"Yes, period," he said, adding "The reason is because, again… when you have that platform, people listen to you… I think that as you're the lead of this show, people adore you and love you. And so therefore, especially during our historic season, in my assumption you, quite honestly, have to speak up for those that are voiceless."

As for when the franchise or network may address the controversy, Johnson told Lindsay he thinks that will happen "within these next four weeks" by the time James' season ends.

"It has to be addressed fully," he said.