Chris Harrison, say your goodbyes. The 49-year-old host, who has led the Bachelor franchise since 2002, will not return to host the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, ABC and Warner Bros. announced on Friday, March 12.
“We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing. In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season,” the statement obtained by Us Weekly read. “As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within The Bachelor franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
Harrison first came under fire on February 9 after an interview on Extra when Rachel Lindsay asked him about Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell‘s Instagram photo from 2018, which features her at an Old South party, and other offensive posts she “liked” on the social media platform.
“We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record,” the Perfect Letter author said at the time, noting that Kirkconnell, 24, hadn’t yet spoken out about her past Instagrams. “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?”
Harrison also brought up that Kirkconnell, who has since apologized for her posts, attended the Old South party in 2018. “Does that make it OK? I don’t know Rachel, you tell me,” he asked the attorney. “Where is this lens were holding up and was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018? I don’t know. … I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018.”
After apologizing for his racially insensitive and ignorant comments, Harrison announced via social media that he was temporarily “stepping aside” for the franchise and would not be hosting the After the Final Rose special since Matt James‘ historic season of The Bachelor should not be overshadowed by his controversial comments.
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In his first interview in early March, the former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host stated that he is “an imperfect man” who owns his mistake. “I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it,” he said on Good Morning America at the time. “I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others.”
After apologizing to Lindsay, 35, again, he also noted, “We are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”