Chris Harrison will be leaving the “Bachelor” franchise since the first season in 2002 after defending the controversy surrounding the current contestant Rachel Kirkconnell. “The Bachelor” contestant is the center of controversy after pictures surfaced of Kirkconnell attending an Old South antebellum plantation-theme fraternity party in 2018.
Kirkconnell also “liked” posts featuring the Confederate flag and shared QAnon conspiracy theories on social media. Kirkconnell apologized on social media and took full responsibility for her actions but Harrison attempted to defend her in an “Extra” interview with former contestant Rachel Lindsay.
During the interview, Harrison says, “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, and a little compassion,” referring to all the backlash Kirkconnell is receiving on social media. He goes on to question the timing of the event questioning, “Is it a good look for 2018 or is not a good look in 2021?”
Lindsay explains it’s not a good look ever saying, “It’s not a good look ever because she’s celebrating the Old South.” Lindsay also poses the question, “If I went to that party, what would I represent?” She goes onto cite that this event took place around the time of the Charlottesville riot and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
'The Bachelor' Airs Without Mention of Chris Harrison Controversy https://t.co/1Aw3uTyK68
— TMZ (@TMZ) February 16, 2021
Harrison responds, “I don’t disagree with you. You’re 100% right in 2021, that was not the case in 2018. I’m not defending Rachel but 50 million people did that in 2018.” He concludes his statement by saying it was a popular party theme then.
Lindsay later was interviewed by CNN about Harrison’s statements saying she was shocked and thought Harrison misspoke but later realized he didn’t while she goes onto explain how some racist contestants made it on “The Bachelor.” Lindays says a racist contestant was cast during her season in 2017 and in 2018 the lead picked a contestant who was liking racist, xenophobic, transphobic, and homophobic posts on social media.
Chris Harrison, host of more than 25 seasons across "The Bachelor" franchise, steps aside after facing criticism for his comments about a contestant's racially insensitive social media posts.
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 16, 2021
Harrison will be stepping away from the “Bachelor” franchise and no one is certain if or when he will be returning to the show. Harrison will also not be hosting the “After the Rose” live special airing after the season finale.
Lindsay has confirmed that she will no longer be associated with “The Bachelor” after her current contract is up. Harrison later apologized for his actions and explained he wasn’t attempting to defend Kirkconnell but wants Kirkconnell to have an opportunity to speak on her own behalf.
Chris Harrison will remain in the upcoming episodes on the current season of “The Bachelor” as the show was pre-filmed and Kirkconnell will be one of the finalists with a reported appearance on the “After the Rose” special.