Former Bachelor lead Ben Higgins opens up about his stance on the franchise’s racism controversy and Chris Harrison’s role in it.
Chris went head-to-head with former Bachelorette lead Rachel Lindsay during an interview over racially insensitive pictures uploaded by Bachelor winner Rachael Kirkconnell.
While Rachel condemned the pictures, Chris chose to defend Rachael and justify her actions.
Ben explains to CNN that he is torn over the issue since he is friends with both Chris and Rachel.
“Chris is a friend of mine. He has been a friend of mine for six years now,” Ben tells the outlet. “It’s not like we see each other on a show. He’s a huge part of my life. As somebody who sits in a place as a friend of his and also I consider Rachel Lindsey a friend of mine so in the midst of this conversation they were having it’s a really weird place to sit.”
Does Ben think Chris should lose his job as The Bachelor’s host?
After the controversial interview with Rachel, Chris temporarily stepped down from his hosting roles. Emmanuel Acho filled in for him on Matt James’s After The Final Rose season finale special.
While Chris vowed he would return, the probability of that actually happening is declining as time goes on.
The franchise passed on him for hosting The Bachelorette in place of Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, and now Chris has hired a power attorney to possibly take legal action against The Bachelor.
As the tension between The Bachelor and Chris increases, Ben maintains that he is extremely conflicted.
Even though Ben is friends with Chris, he agrees that Chris’s words were harmful and that it was right to hold him accountable.
“What Chris said was not helpful but yet he’s a friend and I want to see him grow and I want to see him be loved because I think that’s what friends should do for each other,” Ben says. “But at the same time, I’m sitting here saying what is being said is something that needs to be confronted. These are things that are not OK. We have to work towards racial reconciliation, we have to work for racial justice, we have to bring up these topics so that we can become educated.”
Regardless, Ben still thinks Chris shouldn’t lose his job hosting The Bachelor but rather use this as a learning experience and grow from it.
Higgins added, “As a friend, I don’t want to see anybody lose their job. But also, as somebody from the show, I know there might be things that have to be done that again, I don’t have any say in.”
Ben wants to see change in the Bachelor franchise
Ben is very much in favor of the shift in diversity at The Bachelor.
Although he believes the circumstances under which it had to happen were unfortunate and came a little bit later than desired, he reportedly thinks this is a good opportunity for the franchise to make some real, positive changes.
While it’s a forced reckoning, Ben thinks the franchise can finally step up to the plate, if it chooses to, “so that we can proud of this maybe again.”
The Bachelor is currently on hiatus at ABC.