In Defense of The Bachelor's Chris Harrison from Racial Justice Activists

ABC Puts Cancel Culture over Loyal Audience

Chris Harrison is a white supremacist who supports slavery and does not want to help young, black people to fall in love and get married.

Well, at least, that’s what the cancel culture mob wants you to think about the TV host of the ABC shows “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”. The coordinated attacks against Harrison worked, and he’s been yanked from the airwaves.

ABC is making a very bad decision to take a knee to the mob instead of to ask for our hand in marriage. 

The most nonsensical twist of this cancel culture move is that Harrison was hosting the very first season with a black male lead, which critics have been calling for ABC to do for at least a decade.

Matt James, who is biracial, was supposed to please the critics. But Matt ends the season by choosing a white girl - Rachael Kirkconnell - who the woke mob believes is a racist.

The premise of the show is “the suitor” starts with more than 20 eligible girls. The bachelor then gives a rose to his favorites during each episode until one is left when there’s (usually) a marriage proposal.

At the finale on March 15, Matt chose Rachel over half-black teacher, Michelle Young. This season ends with Matt telling Rachel he’s in love but it’s too soon to get engaged. They kiss and hug and appear to have a happy ending.

Then we flash forward to the update show which is called “After the Final Rose". For the first time in 25 seasons, Harrison was not the host because he was taken out for defending Rachel while the season was airing. In his place was Emmanuel Acho, who has no connection to the show but is the host of a video series called “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.”

Matt dumps Rachel because he thinks that her actions before they fell in love demonstrate that she doesn’t “understand what it means to be black in America.” Let’s hope he doesn’t do the same to his white mother next.)

The controversy about race on the successful franchise of “The Bachelor” goes way back. In 2012, two black men filed a class-action lawsuit for the “intentional exclusion of people of color from the lead role on ABC’s popular television shows” for 10 years. The suit was based on civil rights laws. It claimed that the two were denied “equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race.”

The issue for the court was not being cast as the lead on the show (there had been minorities on the shows already.)  The lawsuit made the assumption that ABC was not casting a black lead because of “perceived racial biases of members of their television audience or their advertisers.” A federal judge threw out the case, but critics continued the push to get a black lead on the show for diversity. 

ABC rightly waited to cast its first black lead until it had a strong woman to carry the show. Rachel Lindsay was the lead of the “The Bachelorette” in 2017 and ended up rejecting all the black suitors on her season and marrying Bryan Abasolo, a white chiropractor of Colombian descent. Her season saw a ratings drop --15% in the premiere alone. Does that mean the audience is all a bunch of racists? Maybe we just got tired about being lectured about racial diversity during entertainment TV.

In 2020, the show replaced Clare Crawley (white and annoying who left engaged to a biracial man) with Tayshia Adams (half black and dynamic) as the Bachelorette and ratings stayed the same through the season. Adams turned away all the black suitors cast to marry her and got engaged to a white former drug addict, and they are living happily ever after in New York City. 

Then the show made a big deal out of casting its first (half) black, male lead -- the adorable Matt James-- and ratings fell again. 

ABC won’t release its audience demographics but the network knows its audience is mostly older, white women. “The Bachelor” shows are too PG and wholesome to appeal to a younger audience.

The racial demographics of the audience largely mirror U.S. population:

“The Bachelor” viewers (est):  White (75%) Hispanic (12%) and  Black (7%)  

America by race: White (76%), Hispanic (19%), Black (13%)

So why did Harrison get cancelled at the same time that ABC finally cast a black, male lead? The short answer is the racial justice police will never be satisfied. 

The long answer is that earlier in the season, 24-year-old Rachael was accused of being a racist because she dressed up in a big puffy dress for a fraternity’s “antebellum party” when she was in college in 2018. She also “liked” a photo of a friend who was standing in front of a confederate flag and another wearing a MAGA hat.

Her sins also included supporting police, having Republican parents and dressing in Indian costumes -- all of which apparently means she doesn’t like black people. 

Harrison, the face of the show was sent to face the media mob and defend Rachel, who producers knew would be the final pick for their black Bachelor. Harrison was set to be interviewed by the more famous Rachel from the show - Rachel Lindsay, the first black “The Bachelorette” lead.

Our host made the grave mistake of sounding like he just might be conservative.

"The woke police is out there and this poor girl, Rachael [Kirkconnell], has just been thrown to the lions," Harrison told Lindsay. "I don't know how you are equipped when you have never done this before. To be woke enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this."

Harrison used the term “woke” in a negative way in Hollywood. Red alert. 

He also said that the girl should not be called a racist because the woke police hadn’t determined that going to an Old-South themed fraternity party would be considered supporting slavery in 2021.

“These girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time. They were 18 years old. Does that make it OK?” he asked. “Where is this lens we're holding up? And was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018? I don't know. I don't have these answers."

The producers tried to salvage their finalist. Kirkconnell took full responsibility and posted an apology that sounds like she was a former KKK member.

“At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything” she wrote. “They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

But Harrison was the sacrificial lamb to the cancel culture mob. He tried to apologize in writing. That wasn’t enough blood.

He then went on national TV and tried again, but there was nothing he could do. He was forced to “step aside” (get off TV) while a black host took over duties for the current season. Two former female leads (Adams and feminist Kaitlyn Bristowe) will take over his job hosting the next full season of “The Bachelorette” which will air later this year. 

Whenever I’ve posted or tweeted about “The Bachelor” franchise over the years, I’ve been smacked with men replying that I’m wasting my brain and the shows are trash. Well, sure, but it’s the same reason men stare at a TV for hours watching sports. It’s entertaining and an escape from the struggles of everyday life. 

We -- mostly women -- watch these shows to believe for a couple of hours each week that there are soul mates, and it’s possible to fall in love in two months, get married and live happily ever after. (There are some couples from the show who seemingly have solid marriages, so we hold them up as the royalty to keep us going during the seasons that are a hot mess.)  

We also watch the Bachelor franchise to judge the girls for doing this reality TV. We bond with our friends and coworkers and neighbors over the show and debate who we want to “win” and what is the worst thing that can happen to the villain.

But now that the shows have broken into the top news and part of a bigger racial justice debate, it’s just not fun to watch anymore. We are not paying any attention to their races unless the show makes an issue of it, which it does more and more. No one wants a lecture on racial justice in between dates in hot tubs and bungee jumping. 

After years of devoted viewership of the Bachelor franchise, I am going to skip the next season. I hope Hollywood goes back to doing its job, which is entertaining viewers. Send the woke police home and give Chris Harrison the final rose. I’ll be waiting on one knee. 

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