Emmanuel Acho, who will take over hosting duties on an upcoming Bachelor special following Chris Harrison's temporary departure, has spoken out about the longtime host's exit from the franchise and the racism controversy that led to it.
Acho, a former NFL player and author of the book Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man and star of a web series of the same name, is set to host the upcoming The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special. The program is set to air on March 15 and focuses on the recent season 25 of The Bachelor and Matt James, the franchise's first Black Bachelor.
On Wednesday, March 10, on ABC's Good Morning America, Acho was asked if he would like to see Harrison return as host of the Bachelor franchise. He responded, "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? 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."
"My mission for After the Final Rose is very, very, very simple," he continued. "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 is love is different than other journeys of love, particularly because of his complexion and his skin color."
Last month, Harrison announced he is temporarily "stepping back" after apologizing for "excusing historical racism" during a TV interview with The Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay, Bachelor Nation's first Black leading star, about leaked past photos of current The Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending an antebellum-themed party, for which she apologized and acknowledged were racist.
On GMA, Acho said Kirkconnell's photos were "racially insensitive and racially ignorant," adding, "Racial insensitivity and racial ignorance can play itself out as racism. But it doesn't necessarily classify someone as racist.
In Harrison's interview with Lindsay, she noted that the controversial photo of Kirkconnell was "from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party," noting "that's not a good look." Harrison replied to her, "Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a big difference."
"There's no difference," Acho said on GMA. "There's an awareness. In 2018, 2017, 2016, 20-as far back as I can go, celebrating or re-enacting, even if it's just by by attire, an antebellum plantation party or an antebellum plantation festivity is wrong."