Chris Harrison stepped down from ‘The Bachelor’ following a huge, racist controversy

Chris Harrison  at the WE tv Presents "T....

I don’t really pay close attention to The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises, but I’m still going to try to cover this. Once I unraveled what happened, I found it surprising on a lot of different levels. The story begins with Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant on The Bachelor. Last week, the media found photos of Rachael from 2018, where she attended an “Old South” themed party on an old plantation. People insisted that finding a party atmosphere in an antebellum party doesn’t make someone racist (I would say it doesn’t make someone NOT racist). When people dug deeper, they found that her social media was full of Confederate flags, QAnon conspiracies and yes, tons of racist crap. Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay – the first Black Bachelorette – interviewed the franchise’s host Chris Harrison about the controversy and Chris made it so much worse:

Was Chris Harrison not prepared for this interview? Did he think he could just go in, wing it and expect his white-dude authority to go unchallenged? I like that Rachel Lindsay immediately called him out on his “the woke police are being mean to this poor antebellum white chick” thing. And I don’t get Harrison’s insistence that things were super-duper different in 2018? Like, it was just three years ago. People KNEW in 2018 that antebellum-themed parties on plantations were a bad f–king look.

So, anyway, after Harrison’s disastrous f–king interview, people got really mad at him too. And guess what? He… listened? Like, he sat there and listened to all of the well-deserved crap he was getting and he decided to issue an apology and announce his withdrawal (as host) from this season of The Bachelor.

The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison said he will be taking a break from the franchise as he apologized for a second time for perpetuating racism within the franchise.

“I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful. My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke,” he wrote in a lengthy statement shared on Instagram Saturday. “I set standards for myself, and have to meet them. 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. 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.”

“To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you,” he added. “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 an effort not to overshadow the current season of The Bachelor, Harrison has said that he “will be stepping aside for a period of time” and will not appear in the After the Final Rose special.

“The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special,” he continued.

Harrison went on to write that he is “dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before..I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to 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. From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you. I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself.”

[From People]

This is the second in-depth “I’m sorry I’m a racist fool” apology I’ve read in the past week and I have to say… the crisis manager who is writing these mea culpas is doing a REALLY good job. I didn’t expect this kind of full-throated “wow, I was REALLY wrong and here’s why, and here’s my commitment to be better and this is completely on me.” I mean… I don’t watch the sh-t so I’m merely going off what’s happening on social media, but I’m getting the sense that having a “Black Bachelor” has brought out a lot of racist crap within the franchise and Chris was part of the problem.

Photos courtesy of Instagram, Avalon Red.

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40 Responses to “Chris Harrison stepped down from ‘The Bachelor’ following a huge, racist controversy”

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  1. BB8 Squirrel says:

    Rachel has not been the only black bachelorette! Tayshia Adams was the bachelorette this year (even though she was not the first choice) and she was fantastic. I really thought the franchise was heading towards a better direction after her season and then this season happened…

    • Amelie says:

      This is correct! I watch this nonsense and the last season of The Bachelorette had two bachelorettes: Clare Crawley, a white woman (and the oldest bachelorette at 39) who was replaced by Tayshia Adams, a black woman, in the middle of the season. Clare fell hard for Dale, one of the contestants on her season and decided to cut the bachelorette experience short (they have since broken up). Tayshia is still with her guy for now.

    • Kaiser says:

      My bad, again, I don’t watch it. I thought Rachel was the only Black Bachelorette the franchise has ever had.

    • lucky says:

      two steps forward, one step back? Perhaps it is all part of the growth needed. Shitty, but part of the process? Honestly, I will follow Rachel’s lead because she has always been truth telling and outspoken about the franchise.

  2. Louise177 says:

    I couldn’t believe how up his butt Chris was in the interview. Whining about how a pretty white girl can’t be racist in peace? Shame on the woke police for calling out racism.

    • AnnaKist says:

      How could he even begin try to to justify that type of behaviour? I’m Australian, and I’VE known for much longer than three years that these plantation parties are totally crappy things attended by crappy people. I’m a believer in free speech, but people who want to spew their racist, sexist, homophobic garbage have to abide by the same rule: when you say this shite, we get to call you out, mock your stupidity and call you all the -ist names we can think of. Do we have to wait for all these gronks to die before this shit stops?

  3. ClaireB says:

    Wow. Props to the crisis manager for telling him what needed to be said and then saying it. Whoever this is, they’re worth the money.

    I can’t believe the bar for white men is so low, but props to Chris Harrison for recognizing that he screwed up, finding a competent PR person, and agreeing to post this statement. A lot of people (of any skin color or gender) would balk at taking as much responsibility as he does in this, so I’m impressed that he did it and did it quickly without the days of defensive excuses and pseudo-apologies that people often engage in.

    • Barnes says:

      He probably reacted so quickly because there was a fast-growing online position for him to be removed as host of the show.

      • ClaireB says:

        Absolutely he did, but we’ve seen some mealy-mouthed, half-assed apologies from people in the same position, whining about how people are calling them out for their crap, so I’m thankful he chose not to spend time in that space. Even if it took a PR person having a come-to-Jesus talk with him, his statement shows an understanding of what the public is starting to expect from famous people.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      I’m still gobsmacked that he was making the case that 2021 standards are so different to 2018 (as if we didn’t start realizing that celebrating the antebellum south was a celebration of slavery & such until last year).

  4. Levans says:

    Antebellum parties were racist in 2018. They have always been racist and knowledge of that racism was available to a majority of people in 2018. There is no defense of such parties. His mistake was trying to act like 2018 was a long time ago and she didn’t know better. She should have and now this is another opportunity for her to learn. Hopefully it sticks.

    • ican'tanymore says:

      They were racist in 1721, 1821, and 1921.

    • Susan says:

      What about an antebellum party is NOT racist? why on EARTH would someone celebrate that period of time? I cannot comprehend. I think I’d prefer a Bubonic Plague Party.

  5. ellie says:

    ”I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.”

    The most beautiful words ever spoken by a rich white dude.

    • Esmom says:

      I was impressed by the extent to which he owned up to his racism and ignorance. If more people would do this, we’d be a lot better off. The constant deflections, rationalizations and excuse-making by grown adults who refuse to admit any wrongdoing, ever, is exhausting.

    • Jess says:

      Right?! I had to read it a few times to make sure I was seeing it correctly. That like, never happens, ever.

      Good for him or his PR person, someone gets it. All we want is them to listen and learn and do better in the future.

    • Myriam says:

      Wow! The amount of people here giving Chris a standing ovation because the billion-dollar network he works for hired a PR person and he deigned to listen or lose his job. Anybody can release a statement written for them. This guy has shown his ass on more than one occasion to show that he is sexist, a homophobe, racist, and more. He condone some of the most harmful things done to these women, including romanticizing a f***ing stalker. Stop applauding these people for the little they do. Just stop!

  6. Darla says:

    The way he’s going on you would think he was comparing 1918 to 2021, not 2018. I mean, give me a break. Oh yeah, back in 2018, which I can barely remember it’s so long ago, we were all doing plantation parties, it was totally the thing.

    GTFOH

    • Ann says:

      Lol! This made me crack up! What a dumb interview. How did he think that was a reasonable thing to say? Like come on guys, it was 3 years ago. Throwing racist parties was soooo 2018. Everyone was doing it! Wth dude?!?! No!

    • ican'tanymore says:

      Not the same thing, but it would be a little like saying, in 2015 grabbing women was cool. Since the “Me too” thing, we understand it’s not OK. No, it was never OK…just not enough people were embarrassed publicly about it yet.

  7. observing says:

    Why did he risk his words on this particular Bachelor contestant? I don’t get it. She’s not integral to the franchise, so I’m baffled as to why he went to bat for her.

    • Alexis says:

      I’ll bet you anything she “wins.” Remember how hard they defended that fool Garrett’s racist garbage halfway through Becca’s season…because she picked him.

      • observing says:

        I see. I actually wondered if he was having an affair with her. But your theory makes more sense.

        He’s had a pretty good run throughout his career — making TONS of money for a job that in the grand scheme of things is on the lower end of making people happy compared to what other entertainers and celebrities do — so this story was making me look at the computer funny. I was actually a bit frustrated. Like, why would he incur this bad publicity on purpose?

      • why not says:

        The Bachelor right now, Matt, is black and he chose this racist chick, Rachel as his final “love”. That is definitely why both Matt and Chris Harrison were defending her.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I had to stop watching his interview after a few minutes. Good Lord, talk about the confidence of a mediocre white man, trying to tell a Black woman that we didn’t know that would be racist a mere 3 years ago, and questioning her position on it. FFS.

  9. MissMarierose says:

    That’s good that he apologized for the racism. Now apologize for the misogyny inherent in the series and cancel it.

  10. Iris says:

    2018?! Are you fucking joking me? 2008, maaaaaaybe. But come ON

  11. Scarlet Vixen says:

    The Bachelor & Bachelorette shows are on ABC, which is owned by Disney (who just cut ties with Gina Carano). ABC is also the network that fired Roseanne Barr from her own show. I think it’s pretty likely the network called in the PR crisis managers & Harrison was TOLD he he was stepping aside, rather than him doing so voluntarily. Now, I don’t know if they are doing it to protect their brand, or if they’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do–But I don’t believe for a second he wrote that apology himself.

    • lucy2 says:

      Seems like ABC/Disney has a LOT of crisis management needs. It’s a huge company, but it seems like one think after another. I guess job security for those PR people!

  12. Alisha says:

    Chris is not sorry. He is also a massive homophobe, a body shamer, and had inappropriate conduct with multiple contestants and I am surprised (not really) that he was never named in the metoo movement.

  13. Nina Simone says:

    I am sad at how the term woke has been repurposed into hysteria, over reaction and overall negative. It’s just another way to slow progress down in its tracks. Shame on chris for perpetuating that.

    When black Twitter popularized “woke” a few years ago it was meant to mean one is socially aware but also critical of oppressive systems be it white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, islamophobia, economic oppression etc and understanding the historical harm they’ve caused subtly and overtly. The word has really been bastardized and I think it’s intentional, so we don’t continue to call out these systems.

  14. Dee says:

    He has had the easiest job in the world. “There’s only one rose left.” “The woman you marry could be in this room.” All he had to be was not racist. And I bet Rachel’s the “winner” this season or it wouldn’t have been an issue.

  15. Mich says:

    It wasn’t considered racist all the way back in 2018? LOL! Paula Deen would like a word.

  16. Ariel says:

    I have been looking for gentle streaming content, and someone recommended to me Hart of Dixie, which seems like an early 90s Michael J Fox movie called Doc Hollywood, which was adorable. I was about 10-20 minutes in when the NYC now in small town Dr Hart saw children practicing dance in old south costumes, she was horrified, and the co-star told her it was their “history” and she should not mock it.
    And i turned it off.
    No thanks.

    I am all for forgiveness, when that person has actually learned why they were so wrong and why people are upset.

  17. manda says:

    He said 50 million people went to old south parties in 2018, lol.

  18. AmyB says:

    I am one who regularly watches ABC’s The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. More just for entertainment value – I DO NOT take the show seriously LOL, I know these people are trying for their 15 min of Instagram/social media fame, not there to find “love”, there is a ton of producer manipulation going on, and I read all the spoilers on Reality Steve – it’s just amusement for me really, an escape (from all the crap going on in the world). I do not relate to people who get so invested in these people, or who attack them viscously on social media, etc. Anyway, I was fully aware of this whole scandal with Chris Harrison and the contestant Rachel Kirkconnell. First of all, she was unable for 6-7 weeks BY ABC/The Bachelor show to respond to her posts on social media – thus making this scandal even more intense (their ultimate purpose). I thought when she was finally allowed to apologize, it came off well, and she took full ownership for her actions.

    Chris Harrison is the epitome of white, male, heterosexual privilege, without a doubt, and that interview with Rachel Lindsay was gross, and clearly he came off uninformed and ignorant. However, I was surprised he stepped down. It was definitely a decision forced by the show, but in his statement he said “for a period of time” – meaning let things cool down, and he will be back, MARK MY WORDS. The man makes millions off this show for virtually doing nothing. I doubt he’s going to cut ties/walk away for good just like that.

    Yes, the show has been criticized for a very long time for being racist/color blind towards African Americans. Rachel Lindsay was the first African American Bachelorette a few seasons ago, and she remains an outspoken, and well liked contestant from the franchise. Tayshia Adams was just on, and she is bi-racial and another representation for the African American community. And the current season has the first ever African American male Bachelor Matt James. I think they are trying, and this move to even temporarily remove Chris Harrison, after the HUGE backlash, is an indicator that the executives/producers are listening, even if it is a little bit, IMO. But they still have a LONG way to go. They also need to vet these contestants more. So many of them have come out lately with horrible pasts, as in sexual assault charges, things like that. How can you tell me that doesn’t come up on a background check? And they supposedly are given psychology checks? Yeah right ?! These producers are given free reign to twist the footage any way they want, and some of them come out looking horrible – I know, they signed up for it, and I certainly wouldn’t do it. But given how viscous and horrible people bully on social media, some of them really suffer mentally afterwards.

  19. M.A.F. says:

    You mean to tell me that a show that has been 99.9% white centric would have…racist contestants? and that the host – a white guy- would defend them with his head up his own a$s? I’m shock.

    why is this show still on the air?

  20. elle says:

    So he’s stepping down as host for one season? That’s a vacation for people of his ilk. I hope you

    How & where did he get the data on how many people attend these these parties? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – 70 million voted for Trump.