Nick Viall is not exactly Team Hannah Brown — but he is not on board with the former Bachelorette being “canceled” either. On the Tuesday, May 19, episode of “The Viall Files,” the podcast host, 39, shared his thoughts on Brown, 25, using the N-word as well as what he thinks about the backlash she has received for the video.
“Listen, Hannah Brown has a massive platform,” Viall began. “She has been very outspoken about her desire to be a role model, specifically to young women out there. She has talked about it a lot. ‘When I was a young girl, this. When I was a young girl, that.’ And quite frankly, her going on Instagram Live — whether she was inebriated or not — and using that word in any context whatsoever is not being a role model, certainly not a good one.”
That said, the former Bachelor said that he does not believe the Alabama native “is a racist, from the little bit” he knows of her. However, he called her use of the racial slur “very ignorant.”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a lyric in a song,” he continued. “I’ll be honest, it’s been disappointing to see some people’s reactions. I understand there are a lot of people who were fans of Hannah Brown, and if you’re a fan of someone, your initial reaction is to want to defend them. I understand that. But the reality is, it is not OK in any context, in any situation whatsoever, to say that word. And I am very critical of Hannah Brown’s use of that word.”
Viall went on to call Brown’s “written apology on her Instagram Stories that [was] set to expire … a really, really terrible apology and really insincere.” He still thinks that she can redeem herself though.
“I don’t think Hannah Brown should be canceled,” he said. “I got a lot of messages too, saying, ‘Let’s cancel Hannah Brown!’ You know how I feel about the cancel culture. I don’t think there’s a lot of positives that come from it. This is a learning opportunity, hopefully, for Hannah. Let’s see how she responds. So far, her response hasn’t been great, but I personally am willing to see how she handles this.”
While stressing the importance of being “an ally,” the Wisconsin native added, “Like it or not, Hannah Brown is going to continue to be a role model. The question is, is she going to be a good one, right? She still has a massive following, and this is such a divisive topic that there are still going to be people who are going to side with Hannah Brown regardless. The big question is, these young women who look up to her, who support her, is she going to go out of her way to say, ‘This was wrong,’ and to really double down and really embrace her mistake and learn from it and not hide behind her fans that want to defend her? If you are a fan of Hannah Brown, you should not be defending this. If you are Hannah Brown, you should not want your fans to defend you.”
Brown came under fire on Saturday, May 16, after she sang the N-word while learning the TikTok dance to rapper DaBaby’s song “Rockstar” on Instagram Live. The Dancing With the Stars champion initially claimed that she did not realize she had said it, but she later apologized on her Instagram Stories for her “unacceptable” language.
“Hannah is really embarrassed and ashamed. She did not intentionally say the N-word, but she understands that she was completely in the wrong and also understands why people are upset with her,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, May 19. “She sees this as a major lesson and is truly sorry.”