Chris Harrison stepping down from “The Bachelor”

Simon Ulibarri, Staff Writer

Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor for 25 seasons, has stepped aside due to remarks he made defending current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell that have been widely denounced as racist. Photographs surfaced confirming that Kirkconnell had attended an antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018. 

 “Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?… I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018,” Harrison said as he defended the contestant in an interview with Extra correspondent Rachael Lindsay. 

Harrison’s controversial comment received backlash almost immediately after the interview, which forced a next-day apology from the longtime host. Harrison posted a message to his Instagram saying,  “What I now realize I have done is cause harm,” followed by, “I promise to do better.” 

For many viewers, the apology didn’t make up for his previous words. Harrison posted a few days later that he will be taking a break from the show “for a period of time” to further educate himself “on a more profound and productive level than ever before.” 

The Bachelor, first airing in 2002, is in the middle of its 25th season featuring Matt James as the first-ever Black bachelor. James described his past few weeks as “some of the most challenging of my life” and described the incidents as “troubling and painful to watch” as he worked alongside Harrison and explored a deeper connection with Kirkconnell. He went on to say he will “continue to process this experience” and that “you will hear more from me in the end.” 

As for Harrison, his future hosting The Bachelor is currently uncertain as the ABC network has final say in what happens.