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What Led to Chris Harrison’s ‘Bachelor’ Exit: He Was ‘Left in the Dark’ About Major Decisions (Exclusive)

A true surprise. Chris Harrison was not expecting to exit Bachelor Nation despite the ongoing controversy, a source exclusively tells Us Weekly.

On Tuesday, June 8, ABC announced that Harrison, 49, who has been at the helm of Bachelor Nation since its 2002 debut, would not be returning. The news came just days after Us confirmed that he would not be hosting season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise, and instead, celebrities will be rotating in as guest hosts — news Harrison wasn’t aware of.

Related: Biggest Bachelor Nation Scandals of All Time

“Chris had been left in the dark over a lot of behind-the-scenes franchise decisions,” the insider tells Us Weekly. “He was not aware David Spade was even in talks to be a guest host for Bachelor in Paradise and found out the same time everyone else did.”

What Led to Chris Harrison Bachelor Exit 3
Chris Harrison ABC/Craig Sjodin

The Perfect Letter author is “close to some crew members, but even they haven’t been given much information about new hosts,” the insider added.

Us previously reported that Harrison would likely not return for Michelle Young‘s season of The Bachelorette, and the source notes that “it’s still unknown” who will host season 18.

Related: How Chris Harrison's Interview With Rachel Lindsay to His Exit: A Timeline

“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”

The former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host also reflected on his time via Instagram.

“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together,” he captioned a photo of him during a taping of After the Final Rose. “While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

What Led to Chris Harrison Bachelor Exit 2
Chris Harrison ABC/John Fleenor

Harrison first stepped aside from the franchise during Matt James’ season of The Bachelor after coming to the defense of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after she shared racially charged Instagram posts.

Related: Dream Casting! Which Celebs Should Join David Spade as 'BiP' Guest Hosts

“We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” Harrison told Rachel Lindsay on Extra in February. “Who is Rachel Lindsay and who is Chris Harrison and who is whatever woke police person out there, who are you [to tell her to speak out]? I’ve heard this a lot of, ‘I think she should,’ ‘I think he should.’ Who the hell are you? Who are you that you demand that?”

Both Harrison and Kirkconnell, 24, later apologized for their actions.

With reporting by Diana Cooper

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