The former “Bachelorette” says that Harrison’s announcement he’d be stepping away from the show for an undetermined length of time is “absolutely” the right move.
As Chris Harrison continues to be the face of Bachelor Nation in previously taped episodes of the franchise’s first-ever Black “Bachelor,” Matt James, its most recent Bachelorette is weighing in on his apology and decision to step away from the franchise.
Tayshia Adams became only the second Black Bachelorette when she replaced Clare Crawley halfway through the latest season. On Thursday, she addressed Harrison’s recent defense of current “Final 4” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending a plantation-themed antebellum formal.
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“His words affected a lot of people, you know, myself included,” Adams admitted on her “Click Bait with Bachelor Nation” podcast with Natasha Parker and Joe Amabile. As such, she does believe that Harrison stepping away is “absolutely” the right thing at this time.
“I think that by him taking ownership, and just not just saying issue an apology and then just going back to work the next day like nothing happened speaks volumes on his behalf,” she said.
The reality star also broke down certain aspects of Harrison’s subsequent apologies, giving credit for the extent of just how much ownership he is taking of his defense of racism, no matter his intent in doing so.
He said, ‘By excusing historical racism I defended it’ which is the absolute truth, and the fact that he called that out and owned up to that and he acknowledges that, means a lot to me,” Adams said.
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She continued, examining another statement Harrison made in his apology. “The fact that he said, ‘This is not just a moment but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make each day’ also meant a lot to me, because it isn’t just a moment, just like how Blacks Lives Matter isn’t just a trending topic on Instagram — it’s a thing that’s taking place every single day that we should actively try to partake in and better.”
Because of the way Harrison chose to fully own up to the mistakes he’s made and vow to educate himself so that he can be a better anti-racist and ally in the future really resonated with Adams. “It hit my heart a little bit more to know he actually meant what he was saying,” she said.
And it’s because of this that she is not among those in Bachelor Nation calling for Harrison to be fired or quit the franchise altogether. Instead, Adams says “we have to allow people to prove us wrong, and prove themselves.”
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She knows a lot about second chances and what people can do with them in part because of her own relationship with her season’s eventual winner, Zac Clark. A recovering addict who’s “done a lot of wrong, in a time that I never even knew of him,” said Adams. “He needed somebody to give him a second chance in order to prove himself.”
Clark has certainly made the best of his own second chance in life, becoming a recovery specialist and helping others find and embrace their own second chances.
For now, all fans know is that Harrison will not be appearing on Matt James’ “After the Final Rose” special. Tentative reported plans had been for the next season of “The Bachelorette” to begin filming in March, shortly after James’ season concludes.
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The understanding at the time was that the upcoming season would be filmed similar to Adams’ and James’ experiences, mostly in one location with adherence to strict pandemic safety protocols. While no Bachelorette has been announced, it’s something that usually happens in conjunction with that “After the Final Rose” special.
Producers have not yet announced who will replace Harrison at that special, nor if any announcement will be forthcoming about a new Bachelorette lead (even money is on this season’s Katie Thurston, if the current flux doesn’t change things) or what Harrison’s involvement might be in the start of her journey.
They could delay production and then start when they and Harrison feel he’s ready to be the face of the franchise again, or they could delay it so he can be replaced more permanently, should that be the final decision. The next few weeks as James wraps his season should be very telling.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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