Chris Harrison Is Stepping Down From ‘The Bachelor’ Amid Ongoing Racism Controversy


Chris Harrison, the host of The Bachelor franchise for almost two decades, is stepping down temporarily amid ongoing controversy over a recent interview with former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.

Earlier this week, Harrison spoke with Lindsay on Extra about controversial pictures that surfaced of current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending an “Old South”–themed party. “I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, and that’s it,” he said, in part, per Us Weekly. “These girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were 18 years old. Now, does that make it okay? I don’t know Rachel, you tell me. Were we all looking through [that lens] in 2018?” 

Fans and members of Bachelor Nation—including the women of Bachelor Matt James’ current season—have spoken out in support of Lindsay and denouncing Harrison’s “defense of racism”. A few days later, the host apologized for “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” as well as for not listening to Lindsay on the subject. 

Now, on February 13, Chris Harrison has apologized a second time and announced he will be stepping down temporarily in hopes that “this historic season of The Bachelor”—James is the franchise’s first Black Bachelor—will not be “marred or overshadowed” by his actions. 

“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,” he wrote in his Instagram statement. “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.”

He continued, “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.” 

The 49-year-old went on to apologize specifically to the Black community and 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,” Harrison wrote. “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.”

Harrison revealed that he spoke to Warner Bros. and ABC and decided to step down “for a period of time” and will not appear on the After the Final Rose special. It is unclear when he will be returning. 

“I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before,” he promised. “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.”

Harrison concluded, “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.” 

You can read Harrison’s full statement below:


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