Hours after the premiere of season 17 of The Bachelorette, Deadline reported that the show’s longtime host Chris Harrison has exited the franchise for good.
According to the report, Harrison received a “mid-range eight-figure payoff” for his continued silence on the confidential behind-the-scenes of the show. Harrison began hosting The Bachelor in 2002 and hosted the franchise’s spin-off shows including The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Pad, The Bachelor Winter Games, and more.
On Valentine’s Day weekend, Harrison announced that he was stepping aside “for a period of time” after he was accused of perpetuating racism. Harrison asked Bachelor fans to give “grace” to a contestant who was seen in an allegedly racist photo.
ABC announced that season 17 of The Bachelorette would be hosted by the show’s former contestants, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe. ABC and Warner Media announced that they removed Harrison as part of its dedication to “improving BIPOC representation.”
“We are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks,” Warner and ABC said. “These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
In an interview with “Extra,” Harrison suggested that Rachael Kirkconnell — the winner of season 25 of The Bachelor — deserved an opportunity to explain why she was pictured at an “antebellum”-themed fraternity event in 2018, dressed as a Southern belle. Harrison decried cancel culture and asked Bachelor fans to not act as the “judge, jury, and executioner.”
The Daily Wire reported that the “photo apparently gave rise to a full-fledged investigation into Kirkconnell’s background, conducted largely by social media sleuths, that turned up an unverified allegation that she’d shamed a former acquaintance for dating black men, and evidence that Kirkconnell’s parents voted for Donald Trump (the internet detectives sought Kirkconnell’s voting record but, it seems, could not find it.”
Kirkconnell and Bachelor Matt James — whose relationship played an outsized role in Harrison’s removal — initially broke up after claims of racism were made against Kirkconnell. James recently revealed in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Magazine that he and Kirkconnell are back together and are enjoying romantic activities together such as having “critical conversations” about what it means to be an “ally.”
Before his exit, Harrison issued two apologies to the woke mob. The first came in the form of an Instagram post.
“This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison said.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Harrison apologized and said he was taking lessons with a “race educator.”
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview and I didn’t speak from my heart,” Harrison told host Micahel Strahan. “That is to say 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 also said that he is committed to a “path of anti-racism.”
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