Changing up the norm. Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison will not be hosting season 17 of The Bachelorette — but why? The ABC personality came under fire for controversial comments made during a February interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay.
During the chat, the pair discussed Bachelor star Matt James‘ controversial season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell and her past racist behavior. Lindsay, 35, addressed photos of Kirkconnell, 24, at an “Old South” party that had recently surfaced and said they weren’t “a good look.”
“You’re 100 percent right in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. And again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018,” he said at the time. “That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. And again, I’m not defending it; I didn’t go to it.” He also called for fans to offer Kirkconnell “grace, understanding and compassion.”
He issued two apologies via social media following the comments and, days later, announced he would be “stepping back” from his hosting duties with the franchise. “I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself and I have not met them,” he wrote on Instagram. “I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same.”
“I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before,” the Texas native continued. “I want to ensure our cast and crew members, my friends, colleagues and our fans: This is not just a moment but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make every day.”
An insider previously told Life & Style, the father of two “has been doing his homework” and “educating himself” following the incident. “He’s been getting crash courses on handling racial topics and the history of racism from some leading experts,” the source added. “There’s a lot he admits he didn’t know. ABC has been great about providing inclusion and sensitivity training to Chris as well as all employees, on-air talent and behind-the-scenes employees.”
However, he is saddened to not be returning to the show he has hosted for years. Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will take over his hosting duties for Katie Thurston‘s upcoming season. “While Chris adores Tayshia and Kaitlyn, and wishes them well on hosting The Bachelorette, he’s disappointed,” the insider added. “He does understand that he handled the Rachael incident in the wrong way, and he agrees that stepping back for a while is a good idea.”