“This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” the longtime host, 49, wrote in a lengthy statement shared via Instagram on Saturday, February 13. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special. I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before. I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to my friends, colleagues and our fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make every day.”
He added: “I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused and I am deeply remorseful. My ignorance did damage to my friends, my colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself and I have not met them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same. By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.”
After apologizing to the Black and BIPOC communities, Harrison hinted that his absence will not be permanent. “From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you,” he concluded. “I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself.”
The TV personality angered some fans on Tuesday, February 9, when he urged people to have “compassion” for Kirkconnell, 24, amid allegations of racism. Members of Bachelor Nation slammed him for his comments following the interview with Rachel Lindsay. He later publicly apologized via Instagram.
“When I finished that interview with Chris Harrison, he had no problems with it. He was fine. He texted me after, he appreciated the conversation. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get a little flack, but I thought it was great that we could disagree, but do it in a civil way,’” Lindsay, 35, said during the Friday, February 12, episode of the “Higher Learning” podcast. “It wasn’t until the backlash came the next day. It wasn’t until people start talking, people start demanding and calling for different things that he does that. He then apologized to me, and then apologized publicly.”
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Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, which marks the first time a Black man is the lead of the show, premiered in January. While the episodes concluded filming in late 2020, the After the Final Rose special has not yet been shot. The season is expected to finish airing sometime in March.
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.