The Bachelor star Matt James has commented on the most recent controversy surrounding the ABC franchise.
During a recent interview with Rachel Lindsay of Extra, The Bachelor Host Chris Harrison defended The Bachelor frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell's decision to attend a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. After being questioned further by the former star of The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, Harrison continued to ask that fans show Kirkconnell a bit of "compassion." Following the interview, Harrison earned pushback from Lindsay along with other fans of the show who felt his comments were inappropriate. Ultimately, Harrison announced that he would step away from the show for an unspecified period of time.
"This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions," Harrison wrote.
"To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After The Final Rose special."
As the situation has continued to escalate, fans have called on Lindsay to join the show as its next host. While Lindsay has not committed to the role, she has maintained that she would consider the opportunity if it was presented to her.
“She is still weighing the options and is pushing for After the Final Rose to include a bigger conversation about race overall in the franchise. No final decision has been made yet.”
In the midst of this brewing controversy, the current bachelor Matt James has issued a statement. James holds a pivotal position in the show's history as its first Black lead.
"The reality is that I'm learning about these situations in real-time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly," James said.
"Chris's failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch."
The Bachelor will return for another episode on March 1 with both James and Kirkconnell.
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