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Rachel Lindsay Reacts to Chris Harrison’s ‘Bachelor’ Exit: ‘I Wasn’t Expecting It to Happen’

A shocking exit. Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay revealed that she was surprised Chris Harrison was let go from The Bachelor franchise after nearly 20 years.

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

“I gotta say, I am [shocked]. I wasn’t expecting for it to happen, not after the announcement,” Lindsay, 36, said on Extra on Tuesday, June 8.

Us Weekly confirmed that Harrison’s leave of absence, which was announced in February, became permanent just hours after The Bachelorette season 17 premiered on Monday, June 7. The host, 49, reached an eight-figure settlement with ABC.

Rachel Lindsay Responds to Chris Harrison’s 'Bachelor' Exit: 'I Wasn't Expecting It to Happen'
Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison. Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock; David Buchan/Shutterstock

The controversy started when Harrison defended Rachael Kirkconnell‘s racially insensitive past during a conversation with Lindsay on Extra in February. Harrison told fans to wait to hear the Bachelor contestant’s side of the story while Lindsay pointed out that she’d been silent for weeks.

“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]?” he asked. “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?”

Related: Biggest Bachelor Nation Scandals of All Time

Harrison apologized a day later, and he also apologized directly to Lindsay, the TV correspondent noted. “Last time we sat and talked I said that I accepted Chris’ apology and I still stand by that. I do, I think that’s the way to move forward,” Lindsay said on Tuesday.

“I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry. I’m sorry to Rachel Lindsay, and I’m sorry to the Black community,” he said at the time.

Harrison already has several job offers following his exit from the franchise, a source exclusively told Us on Tuesday.

“He’s been getting all kinds of offers on projects, so he’s hoping to lock something in soon,” one insider said. “He has a team who has been supporting him this entire time and is working on his next move. He’s hosted other shows in the past so safe to say this isn’t the end of Chris Harrison hosting!”

Related: Sean, JoJo and More Bachelor Nation Stars React to Chris Harrison’s Exit

A second source added, “He’s elated and relieved to be able to explore future opportunities.”

Lindsay for her part, wondered if Harrison actually wanted to leave on his own terms. “It’s been 19 years and if you do watch the show we saw less and less of Chris,” she said on Extra. “Nineteen years is a big accomplishment. Maybe that’s the case. We don’t know. Maybe they were ready to move on. Maybe Chris wanted to move on after all this.”

When he broke his silence, the longtime host noted that he was “excited to start a new chapter” and that he “had a truly incredible run.

“I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together,” he shared via Instagram on Tuesday. “While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

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