Chris Harrison is stepping down from his role as a host in “The Bachelor” franchise. The news has been confirmed by the show’s producer Warner Horizon and distributor ABC Entertainment in a joint statement to CNN.
“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” the note read. The two also extended their gratitude to Harrison for his “contributions over the past 20 years,” and conveyed their best wishes for his future endeavors.
In February, Harrison had announced his decision to part with the show after two decades. His choice to “step aside” came after he made a series of questionable remarks while being interviewed by Rachel Lindsay, an extra host, and former star from “The Bachelorette” in 2017.
During the controversial interview, Chris Harrison was found defending Rachel Kirk Connell, a contestant on the show who allegedly faced severe backlash for liking confederate flag-associated TikTok videos and participating in a fraternity formal in 2018.
Kirk Connell had later issued a public apology for her “offensive and racist” actions and ended up taking the trophy home for that season. However, Harrison had come to her defense at the time of the interview, saving her from what he called the “woke police” during a Feb 9 interview.
“The woke police are out there. And this poor girl Rachael, who has just been thrown to the lions. I don’t know how you are equipped when you have never done this before, to be awake enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this,” said Harrison in support of Kirk Connell.
After the controversy escalated, Harrison apologized to his viewers via social media. In an interview with “Good Morning America,” he said “I am not a victim here,” implying that he was fully aware of the mistakes he had made in the past. Additionally, Harrison had added he would be away for a while but did not reveal any intentions of leaving the show any time soon.
Chris Harrison has been associated with the show since it premiered in 2002. Although the star hosted several other reality shows, he was best known for his role in “The Bachelorette.” After serving the show for a glorious 20 years, Harrison had decided to step back and “start a new chapter” in his life, as confirmed by his Instagram post.
The news of Harrisons’ departure from the show brought a series of comments from “Bachelor” alumni including Colton Underwood, who took to his Instagram story to thank Harrison for “being a friend, a stand-up guy and a hell of a host.” Former “Bachelor” star Kelly Flanagan also commented on Harrisons’ post, saying he will be missed dearly.