The Bachelor: Chris Harrison leaves franchise for good after racism controversy

The Bachelor: Chris Harrison leaves franchise for good after racism controversy

The Bachelor’s longtime host Chris Harrison has left the franchise.

Harrison, who also hosted the show’s spinoffs including The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, won’t return to the ABC programmes, Deadline reported on Tuesday.

Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment told The Independent in a statement: “Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”

Harrison also shared the development on his Instagram account, writing: “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

Harrison has hosted 25 seasons of The Bachelor since the show began airing in 2002.

The news of Harrison’s departure came the day after season 17 of The Bachelorette started without him. Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are handling hosting duties instead.

Harrison in February this year apologised for “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachelle Lindsay. In the interview, he was commenting on allegations of racist behaviour faced by Rachael Kirkconnell, who was at the time a contestant on The Bachelor.

A few days later, Harrison issued a lengthier apology, stating in part: “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.”

Kirkconnell also issued an apology in February after being accused of racist and insensitive behaviour, including attending an Antebellum-style party in 2018.

“While there have been rumours circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong,” she wrote in part.

“At one point, I didn’t recognise how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

Kirkconnell was the winner of season 25 of The Bachelor, which featured Matt James, the first Black Bachelor in the franchise. The pair announced in the After the Final Rose special in March that they had broken up after the allegations against Kirkconnell emerged. James has since told People he has seen Kirkconnell “a handful of times”, adding: “I’m not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it.”

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