Chris Harrison will no longer be part of the "Bachelor" franchise following controversy over racially insensitive comments, according to reports.
The longtime Bachelor Nation host took a hiatus after he came under fire earlier this year following an interview in which he defended "The Bachelor" contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was accused of racially insensitive past behavior after photos emerged on social media of her attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Many said Harrison was defending racist behavior.
Since then his career has been uncertain but on Tuesday Deadline revealed that, "just hours after the 17th season of 'The Bachelorette' debuted, longtime host Chris Harrison has exited the romance franchise for good."
Harrison did apologize for the controversial interview in which defended Kirkconnell against what he called the "woke police" on social media. "We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," he said in the interview.
In a statement on Instagram, Harrison announced that he would be stepping down from the franchise for "a period of time" and also apologized for the interview.
"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," Harrison wrote.
"To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry," he continued. "My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you," Harrison continued. "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."
In a separate post, Harrison extended an apology to Bachelor Nation.
"To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology," he wrote. "I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed."
The apology did little to save his career but Harrison is not walking away empty-handed. He received a mid-range eight-figure payoff in exchange for promises "to keep his mouth shut," Deadline wrote. This comes after "intense negotiations" over the past few days between Harrison's reps and WBTV as well as Disney-owned ABC.
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