Emmanuel Acho is speaking out about Chris Harrison’s potential return to The Bachelor franchise. The newly-minted host of Matt James’ After the Final Rose appeared on Wednesday’s episode of Good Morning America, and addressed if Harrison, who previously announced that he’s “stepping aside” from the franchise “for a period of time,” should host the reality series going forward.
Harrison’s hosting pause was a result of an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, during which the host defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist actions, encouraging people to offer her “grace,” and speaking out against the “woke police.” Both Harrison and Kirkconnell have since apologized, and the former has expressed a want to return to the franchise.
“Is it in the best interest of Chris Harrison, is it in the best interest of the show, for them to continue to mutually move forward?” Acho pondered while speaking to GMA’s T. J. Holmes. “This is the most uncomfortable conversation in the history of The Bachelor franchise, because it’s not just about relationships, but now it’s about race. We’re intertwining race with relationships on one of the greatest unscripted shows in the history of television.”
Though Acho isn’t sure if Harrison should be welcomed back into the fold, he made sure to note that he doesn’t believe in “cancel culture.”
“I believe in accountability. I believe in understanding. I believe in growth,” Acho said. “Now, if someone’s intent is malicious, then by all means cancel them. But if someone’s intent is not malicious, but their action still is, then educate them so that we can alter the intent and thus alter the act.”
Acho noted that he’s spoken to Harrison amid the ongoing controversy and believes he understands where he went wrong.
“I’ve gotten to hear his heart,” Acho said. “He’ll admit this. He was ignorant and arrogant and you cannot be both. And when he said that to me, I was like, ‘Well, you understand what caused this dilemma.'”
FIRST ON @GMA: @EmmanuelAcho talks hosting ‘After the Final Rose’ after Chris Harrison scandal.#[email protected]://t.co/XYVfb0zvqipic.twitter.com/x8RQJ3uMn4
As for Kirkconnell, her past actions came to light in January, when a TikTok user accused the early front-runner of previously bullying her for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college. Kirkconnell has since apologized and asked people to stop defending her actions.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Yikes. That’s not a good look,'” Acho said of finding out about Kirkconnell’s past actions. “My secondary reaction was, ‘Everybody pump the brakes,’ because I believe her photos were racially insensitive and racially ignorant. Racial insensitivity and racial ignorance can play itself out as racism, but it doesn’t necessarily classify someone as racist.”
Acho will get the chance to discuss all that and more when After the Finale Rose airs on Monday, March 15.
“My mission for After the Final Rose is very, very, very simple: allow my white brothers and sisters who have watched the show and fell in love with Matt’s story to understand that Matt’s love story and his journey of love is different than other journeys of love, particularly because of his complexion and his skin color,” Acho said. ” I really just want to bring forth reconciliation racially as we continue to watch the love story play out.”
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