There's a major shake-up in Bachelor Nation. Following his previous comments that "excused historical racism," Chris Harrison released a statement about stepping down as The Bachelor host. After years of Harrison hosting the reality show, he will be stepping back "for a period of time." The news came after a Tuesday, Feb. 9 interview with former Bachelorette and EXTRA correspondent Rachel Lindsay. Elite Daily reached out to an ABC rep to clarify how long Harrison's break from The Bachelor franchise will be, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
In the controversial interview, Harrison defended current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after Lindsay asked him about racist photos from Kirkconnell's recent past. In response to the backlash for his comments, Harrison released a statement on Instagram, revealing that he will no longer host the franchise for the time being. He began, "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 my friends, colleagues, and strangers alike." He continued, "I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself, and I have not met them."
Harrison admitted, "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." After apologizing to the Black and BIPOC community for his words, he went on to reveal that he will not be returning to The Bachelor for "a period of time."
He continued, “This 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.” It's unclear how long he will be away.
Harrison also revealed he will not return for the After the Final Rose special for Matt James' season. Instead, he says he is "dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before," and says the change isn't momentary but a "commitment to much greater understanding."
ICYMI, the interview comments that caused outrage across social media and the Bachelor Nation stemmed from some 2018 photos of Kirkconnell. During the Feb. 9 interview, Lindsay asked Harrison about the photos of Kirkconnell, which showed her at an antebellum-themed party. It's important to note that Season 25 of The Bachelor features the franchise's first-ever Black male bachelor, Matt James.
During the interview, he said of Kirkconnell, "We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion." He continued, "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. It's unbelievably alarming to watch this." He added, "I haven't heard Rachael speak on this yet. And until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?"
Lindsay replied, "Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party. That's not a good look."
Lindsay revealed that she will not b e renewing her contract for the franchise. The reality star stated on the Friday, Feb. 12 episode of her Spotify Original Podcast Higher Learning with Van Nathan and Rachel Lindsay, "I’m f*cking tired. I’m exhausted. I have truly had enough."
Kirkconnell has apologized for attending the party and her racist actions in a Feb. 11 Instagram post.
While it's unclear how long Harrison will be gone and who will replace him, it's good to see he's apologized and taking a step back after causing so much hurt.