“Bachelor” host Chris Harrison has been replaced — at least temporarily — and old footage of Harrison, which aired this on this week’s episode, has been given a disclaimer, following comments Harrison made condemning cancel culture.
Harrison told “Bachelor” viewers earlier in February that he was stepping aside from hosting the show after facing social media blowback for suggesting that an embattled “Bachelor” contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, be given “grace” and understanding and be allowed to explain a photo from 2018, where she appeared at a fraternity party in full antebellum attire. He then begged fans of The Bachelor not to act as “judge, jury, and executioner.”
Kirkconnell eventually did attempt to explain and apologize for the photo, pleading ignorance of the picture’s racial overtones. Harrison, however, was assailed for “perpetuating racism,” and fans started a petition to have Harrison removed as “Bachelor” host, given that the current series features the show’s first black Bachelor, Matt James.
Harrison issued a pledge to work harder, telling fans on Twitter that “[w]hile I do not speak for Rachel Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf. What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that, I am so deeply sorry.”
When that was not enough, he issued a second, more pointed apology and noted that he was stepping aside from hosting duties.
On Saturday, CNN reports, ABC announced that Harrison would be replaced by former NFL player Emmanuel Acho, who hosts a YouTube series about confronting racism, for this season wrap-up finale, “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose,” where, typically, the bachelor and his chosen fiance cross paths with the rest of the season’s female contestants and address issues that arose during filming (including, it seems, the racism allegations).
“Acho, the host of the YouTube series ‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,’ announced on Saturday he would host the one-hour special for the 25th season,” the network noted, adding that it appears Acho will address the situation head-on during the special.
“I’ve accepted the Rose & am honored to be hosting the @bachelorabc After the Final Rose this year,” Acho tweeted. “It’s been a pivotal season & this episode will be one of the most storied shows in its history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. See y’all then!”
As for Harrison’s earlier appearances, to avoid concerns that fans might think ABC retained Harrison for select episodes, the show appears to have placed a disclaimer on scenes filmed before Harrison stepped aside.
The Wrap reports that last week’s episode, which featured footage of Harrison competing on a celebrity edition of “Wheel of Fortune” noted that the scenes were filmed in December.
“Harrison appeared on the ABC game show, competing alongside Alfonso Ribeiro and Robert Herjavec, to raise money for Feeding America. As he prepared to spin the wheel, a disclaimer popped up at the bottom of the screen reading, ‘This episode was previously recorded in December 2020,'” the outlet noted.
So far, earlier episodes of “The Bachelor” have not received the same disclaimer.
Related: ‘Bachelor’ Host Apologizes For ‘Perpetuating Racism’ After Asking ‘For Grace’ For Embattled Contestant