Rachel Lindsay reacts to Chris Harrison's 'The Bachelor' scandal podcast plans, reveals where they stand
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/22/2022
The Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay has addressed Chris Harrison's recent revelation he'll be discussing his controversial 2021 interview with Rachel that resulted in the longtime The Bachelor host leaving the franchise on his new podcast early next year.
The controversy resulted in Chris leaving The Bachelor franchise for good, and he'll be speaking out about the aftermath of his actions for the first time in almost two years on his new podcast, "The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever with Chris Harrison," which releases its first episode January 9, 2023 on iHeartRadio.
On Tuesday's episode of the "Higher Learning" podcast, Rachel's podcast co-host Van Lathan played Rachel the trailer for Chris' new podcast.
Chris says in the preview how he's thought about his racism controversy "every day" of his life and has "a lot of thoughts" on what went down.
"That's a Bachelor saying. He always says, 'It's the most dramatic season ever...' I think he's just playing off one of his most famous catchphrases. There won't be Bachelor talk, I would assume," Rachel said.
Van Lathan asked Rachel whether she was asked to be a guest on the podcast, and the Season 13 The Bachelorette star responded, "I was not asked, and I would not be on it."
Rachel said having a recorded conversation for public listening "wouldn't be genuine" because it would just be "for clicks."
"Because everybody would listen," Rachel insisted. "No, I'm not going to give you that."
Back in February 2021, Rachel had conducted an interview with Chris for Extra, and Chris adopted a dismissive attitude towards photos of Rachael that resurfaced and were circulating online from an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
Chris had called for "grace" and "compassion" for Rachael and also criticized the "woke police" and the "unbelievably alarming" response of anger and frustration to the young woman's actions.
Chris' strong defense of Rachael, who tearfully apologized for the racially-offensive photos, enraged many Bachelor Nation fans.
Chris therefore announced in February 2021 he'd be "stepping aside" from his hosting duties with The Bachelor franchise "for a period of time" to educate himself on racism in society in a "profound" and "productive" manner.
Chris issued a total of three public apologies for his offense, two on Instagram and one verbal apology during a March appearance on Good Morning America.
On GMA at the time, Chris said he hoped to come back to The Bachelor franchise, explaining, "This is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it. I plan to be back and I want to be back."
Rachel said she accepted Chris' apology in March 2021, but other people weren't so lenient.
"It's been almost two years since that happened and the last time that [Chris] had any communication with me was after I said, 'We should just accept his apology after he was on Good Morning America and move on,'" Rachel explained.
Rachel recalled how Chris texted her after his GMA appearance when the public reacted with skepticism to his apology and questioned his sincerity.
"People turned on Chris again or went harder on him. And I said what I said, and he wrote me and said, you know, 'I appreciate what you had to say. We should go have dinner.' So that was over a month after the initial thing happened, and so he never reached out to me in between when I was going through all that [backlash and hate] on social media," Rachel said.
"But you, you know, you're in the media telling everybody I'm your friend. So you reach out to me when something is in your favor."
Rachel said she and Chris haven't spoken since that exchange.
"So now you reach out to me to be a part of your podcast? You want to have a conversation with me on the mic, in public?... If it was genuine, you would've already hit me up," Rachel said.
Rachel also pointed out how Chris unfollowed her on social media and "moved on" and started "a new chapter."
"When you move on from that new chapter, I was not a part of it," Rachel explained.
"When he does this podcast, I would imagine he signed some sort of NDA, right? So I think this will just be him for the first time saying how he felt with it, all the aftermath, losing that job [and] how it's affected him... I think he'll refer to it as 'the interview' [and] 'when that happened.'"
Rachel continued, "I don't think he wants to touch that [or say my name] because then it's going to elicit a response from me and then, you know, it goes back and forth. Because if he comments on me in any sort of way... believe it we're going to talk about it on 'Higher Learning!' Now if he wants to come on 'Higher Learning' and have a conversation, [that's different]."
Van Lathan then pleaded for Chris to appear on their podcast, offering him "an olive branch."
In the thick of the scandal last year, Katie Thurston refused to star on Season 17 of The Bachelorette in March 2021 if Chris was going to host, and several sources told E! News in April 2021 that "many" The Bachelor and The Bachelorette alums were "apprehensive" about signing up for Bachelor in Paradise 7 -- or even declined their invitations -- in the wake of Chris' Extra comments.
One insider told the website at the time, "A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise."
The Bachelorette Season 16 bachelor, Ivan Hall, for example, told E!'s Daily Pop, "If they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on Bachelor in Paradise or something like that -- and I'm sure a lot of other contestants feel this way as well -- I wouldn't feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank."
Ivan added, "[I'm] not saying he can't make a recovery, can't learn from all of this, but, you know... it would just be too soon, really."
ABC and Chris then publicly announced in June 2021 that Chris' voluntary leave of absence from The Bachelor franchise would become a permanent one and he would not be returning as host for any future seasons.
Chris wrote in a June 8, 2021 statement on Instagram how he was "excited to start a new chapter" and "so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories."
Deadline reported in June 2021 that Chris, who began hosting The Bachelor franchise back in Season 1, which premiered in 2002, reached a mid-range eight-figure settlement with ABC to exit The Bachelor franchise for good.