It's only been two-or-so weeks since Chris Harrison announced that he was “stepping aside” from The Bachelor after almost 20 years as host, but he's already reneged on his promise to leave.
"I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that," Harrison said. "I believe that mistake doesn't reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it."
Following the Extra interview in question, Harrison's announced that he was leaving the The Bachelor in a vague statement, not specifying how long he'd be off our TVs. But we now (sort of) have our answer, and it doesn't seem to reflect the immense progress he is promising.
"I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change," said Harrison. "I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress."
"This interview is not the finish line," he added. "There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change."
Many feel that Harrison hasn't merited any sort of return to the franchise — especially so soon. "If they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on like 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 Hall of Tayshia Adams' season of The Bachelorette recently said. "[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. I think he needs to take some time really look into himself and really just have a lot of tough conversations and understand why he believes the things he believes at this point in his life."
Others on social media felt that the interview felt like "a pitch" for him to return to the reality show, and that his apologies have felt tepid and even border on gaslighting. "[The GMA interview] is gaslight-y as hell, with direct quotes like 'I didn’t speak from my heart' and 'I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for,'" Refinery29 Senior TV Critic Ariana Romero tweeted. "He basically gave an impassioned 13-minute monologue. That was his heart."
Giving an almost 15-minute-interview where you call a slavery-era "themed" party "a great time" and then losing access to a show where Black people are meant to feel safe enough to fall in love isn't "getting canceled." It's consequences.— Ariana Romero (@_ArianaRomero) March 4, 2021
And as Harrison is planning his return, the others involved in the current Bachelor hellstorm are still experiencing the fallout: Lindsay has recently been the target of such online of intense harassment and bullying that she deactivated her Instagram account.
As it stands, Harrison may want to move forward, but the Bachelor Nation isn't ready to hand him a rose yet.