Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” announced that he’s stepping away from the role after he was accused of defending racism.
— Chicks in the Office (@ChicksInTheOff) February 13, 2021
“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,” Harrison wrote. “I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke.” (RELATED: ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell Breaks Silence After Being Accused Of Racism)
“I set standards for myself, and have to meet them,” he added. “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,” he continued. “My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you. 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.”
Harrison then revealed he would be taking a break from the reality show.
“The historic season of ‘The Bachelor’ should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison wrote. “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.”
Harrison was criticized after he defended a current contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, after she was accused of engaging of in racist behavior in the past. Kirkconnell was accused of attending a plantation-themed party and engaging with racially insensitive social media content, according to People magazine.
Harrison addressed the backlash against Kirkconnell during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first black “Bachelorette.”
Harrison faced backlash after requesting that people give Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding” when it comes to alleged behavior from the past.
Kirkconnell apologized for the alleged behavior on Instagram.
“I am sorry to communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended,” Kirkconnel wrote. “I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it is no one’s responsibility to educate me. I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out.”