Harrison exits 'Bachelor' in wake of racial insensitivity
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Harrison, the original host of ABC's 'úThe Bachelor'Ě and its spinoffs, is leaving the long-running franchise.
His departure comes four months after he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell against criticism over 2018 photos showing her at a fraternity formal with an Old South plantation theme.
Harrison is 'ústepping aside as host of 'ėThe Bachelor' franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey,'Ě Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a joint statement Tuesday.
The producer and the network had no further comment, including on a replacement for Harrison. His publicist didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Harrison faced backlash after he voiced support for Kirkconnell during an 'úExtra'Ě interview last February with Rachel Lindsay, who had been on 'úThe Bachelorette'Ě and was the first Black star of the franchise that begin in 2002.
In a subsequent online statement, Harrison apologized for what he called a "mistake.'Ě While he had only intended to ask for 'úgrace'Ě and compassion for Kirkconnell so she could address the issue, Harrison said, he realized he had caused harm by 'úspeaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.'Ě
He was on hiatus from the franchise before his permanent departure was confirmed. The current season of 'úThe Bachelorette'Ě is being hosted by former cast members Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe.