Chris Harrison Announces He's "Stepping Aside" from Hosting 'The Bachelor' Amid Racism Controversy

  • In a lengthy message on Instagram Saturday, Chris Harrison announced that he will be "stepping aside" as host of The Bachelor for the time being amid his racism controversy.
    • Harrison confirmed that he will not participate in the upcoming After the Final Rose special, but did not offer any other details about the length of his departure from the franchise.
      • ABC has not announced who will replace Harrison, but past contestants like Wells Adams, JoJo Fletcher, and Nick Viall have been mentioned by fans as possible successors in the past. More recently, many are calling for ABC to offer the job to Rachel Lindsay, the franchise's first BIPOC lead.

        Chris Harrison is leaving The Bachelor—at least for now. Harrison has confirmed that he's "stepping aside" from his longtime gig hosting The Bachelor in the wake of his recent controversial comments about race.

        Harrison announced the news on Saturday in an Instagram post, writing:

        "Hello everyone,

        I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful. My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself, and have to meet them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same.

        By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.

        To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you," he added. "I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people from these communities who I've had enlightening conversations with over the past few days, and I am so grateful to those who have reached out to help me on my path to anti-racism.

        The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special. I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before. I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to my friends, colleagues and our fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make every day.

        From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you. I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself."

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        Harrison's recent controversy began when he discussed criticism of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who has been called out for, among other things, old posts on social media that feature her dressed in Native American attire and attending a plantation-themed event. Harrison spoke to Rachel Lindsay, the Bachelor franchise's first BIPOC lead, about the controversy, during an interview for Extra, calling for "grace," "understanding," and "compassion" for Kirkconnell.

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        Lindsay expressed her disappointment with Harrison and his first apology for the interview during her Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay podcast. "During that conversation, his privilege was on display. He never gave me room to talk, and he never gave me room to share my perspective. He wasn't trying to hear it, he was just trying to be heard," she explained.

        There's no word yet on when—if ever—Harrison will return to his hosting duties on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. In the past, Bachelor fans have called for favorite past cast members like Wells Adams, JoJo Fletcher, or Nick Viall to take over for Harrison in the event of his departure. More recently, many have suggested ABC offer the gig to Rachel Lindsay, who has built a strong résumé as a host and interviewers on podcasts like Higher Learning and Bachelor Happy Hour and Extra and who has a track record for calling out the franchise for its problems when it comes to race and representation.

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