Chris Harrison is officially stepping down from ABC’s reality dating franchise “The Bachelor” after defending a contestant’s past racist behavior.
“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,” ABC Entertainment and Warner Horizon told NBC News on Tuesday.
Harrison addressed his exit on Instagram sharing a photo of himself while hosting the show. He captioned the post, “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 took a step back from the franchise in February after coming under fire for defending former “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. Photos of Kirkonnell attending an antebellum plantation-theme formal from 2018 came to light. He addressed the situation during an “Extra” interview with former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay.
Harrison showed sympathy for Kirkconnell during the interview and suggested that the criticism against her was unfair since the photos were from the past.
Harrison later admitted to ABC News’ “Good Morning America” that he “made a mistake.”
“I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that,” Harrison told Michael Strahan. “I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise.”
Harrison in the interview that he was getting guidance from a “race educator and strategist,” who is teaching him how to move forward and learn from the experience.
His exit comes a day after Monday’s 17th season premier of “The Bachelorette.” The show is currently being hosted by former Bachelorettes’ Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams.
Listen to the Andie Summers Show talk about the topic HERE