Chris Harrison officially exits The Bachelor after racism controversy

·2 min read
Bachelor host Chris Harrison departs the franchise following off-screen drama over racially insensitive comments he made defending a contestant from the show.  (Richard Shotwell/AP - image credit)
Bachelor host Chris Harrison departs the franchise following off-screen drama over racially insensitive comments he made defending a contestant from the show. (Richard Shotwell/AP - image credit)

Chris Harrison's 19-year journey with The Bachelor franchise is officially over.

In February, the host made racially insensitive comments off-screen after defending a contestant from the show.

The longtime host posted a farewell message on Instagram on Tuesday adding, "I've had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I'm excited to start a new chapter."

According to Variety, Harrison wanted to stay with the reality dating series but his team was disappointed by the lack of public-facing support and loyalty from the network and studio.

Deadline reports that Harrison will receive a mid-range eight-figure payoff.

Earlier this year, Harrison stepped down from hosting duties for an unspecified amount of time after controversial remarks he made in an Extra interview, defending Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell for racist behaviour in her past.

Old photos had resurfaced of Kirkconnell attending an antebellum-themed fraternity party in costume as a Native American in 2018, to which Harrison said that there should be "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," for Kirkconnell.

"I've seen some stuff online, again this judge-jury-executioner thing, where people are just tearing this girl's life apart," he said.

Backlash toward Harrison prompted an apology from the host, and former NFL player and author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Emmanuel Acho stepped in to take his place on the upcoming After the Final Rose special.

Season 17 of The Bachelorette premiered on Monday with franchise alums Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe replacing Harrison as co-hosts, as announced in May.

According to reports, a rotating cast of celebrities will guest host the next season of Bachelor in Paradise this summer — David Spade has been tapped as one of them.

Representatives for the show did not immediately respond to CBC News for comment.