"Extra" correspondent Rachel Lindsay is speaking out about Chris Harrison's racially charged interview with her last week, after which the apologetic "Bachelor"-franchise host announced he was stepping down indefinitely from that role.
"When you think of racism, you think explicit racism. … You think wearing a white hood, saying things that are derogatory or offensive. That's explicit racism," Lindsay, 35, an attorney who in 2017 became the first African-American star of "The Bachelorette," told "Extra" host Billy Bush Monday. "But then there's implicit racism, where you have these unconscious biases and stereotypes and misconceptions of certain groups, and that's what we were seeing in that interview."
Harrison, 49, had assailed the "woke police" for criticizing current-season front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell, who has been accused of "liking" racist social-media posts and who attended an Old South-themed party in 2018. When Lindsay, in the original Feb. 9 interview, noted that Kirkconnell, 24, had kept silent for six weeks since a photo of her at that party emerged, Harrison retorted, "When is the time, and who is Rachel Lindsay, and who is Chris Harrison, and who is whatever woke police person out there … who the hell are you? Who are you that you demand opinions?"
Kirkconnell apologized Thursday in an Instagram post, saying "I was wrong."
She had been preceded by Harrison, who issued an apology last Wednesday after his interview with Lindsay. The Bachelor host reiterated that sentiment on Saturday, when he announced that in consultation with production company Warner Bros. and network ABC that he would "be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special."
Lindsay reflected Monday, "I wish I would have said — particularly when he talked about the difference between 2018 and 2021, when he said, 'Was it not a good look there, or is it just now not a good look in 2021?' — I wish I would have said, 'What do you mean by that? And what was the difference in 2018?' He kept talking about this lens that we were looking at things through [in] 2018 versus 2021. I wish I would have asked him to explain that."
She added, "Chris has stepped aside, which I think is the right decision because, like he said, he needs to take time to get educated and on a profound and productive level, to use his words. And I think he needs to understand what was done, what was wrong and what he said in that interview. And he needs time. He needs to step away to do that. As a franchise, though, where do you go from here …?"