After serving as the face of the television franchise “The Bachelor” for nearly 20 years, presenter Chris Harrison is leaving for good, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment confirmed to CBS News on Tuesday. His departure comes after an online backlash earlier this year when he defended the racist behavior of a previous candidate.
“I had a really incredible run as the host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and am now looking forward to starting a new chapter,” Harrison wrote in a statement on Instagram. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we made together. As my two decade-long journey draws to a close, the friendships I have made will last a lifetime.”
Harrison made the announcement the day after the premiere of season 17 of “The Bachelorette,” which, according to data analysis from entertainment website Deadline, received the lowest viewing figures in the series’ history. Former Bacheloretteshave taken his place as co-hosts.
Earlier this year, Harrison didfor “apologizing for historical racism” and “defense,” as he described in an Instagram post in February.
After photos of the previous participant resurfaced this yearWhen attending an antebellum-themed party in 2018, Harrison said in an interview with ExtraTV that “we all need a bit of grace” and that he is “not the police woke up.”
“Because I’ve seen a lot online – this judge, jury, hangman thing – where people just rip this girl’s life apart and immerse themselves in her parents, her parents’ voting results,” Harrison told Rachel Lindsay, in the interview. “It’s incredibly alarming to see that. I haven’t heard Rachael talk about it yet. And until I really hear that this woman has a chance to speak, who am I to say that? “
Lindsay reminded the moderator in the interview that the picture was 2018 and it was “not a good look”, to which Harrison replied: “Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?”
After the controversial interview, Harrison received a backlash and later apologized to the Black Community and Lindsay on social media. In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, he said he was looking for a “racing educator and strategist” to help take responsibility and move forward.
“My ignorance has harmed my friends, co-workers, and strangers alike,” Harrison wrote at the time. “I have no one to blame but myself for what I have said and how I have spoken. I have set standards for myself and have not fulfilled them. I can feel that with every fiber of my being.”
Former “Bachelor” stars responded to Harrison’s departure on Tuesday, including Sean Lowe, who wrote of Harrison’s departure, “… It will never be the same”.
“Truly the end of an era,” wrote former Bachelorette Ashley Laconetti. “Thank you for all the years of hard work and love you put on the show. I have a lump in my throat when I write this. “