Chris Harrison officially EXITS the Bachelor franchise after 19 years with an ‘eight-figure payout’ after he backed contestant who attended plantation-themed frat party
- Chris Harrison is officially stepping down as host of The Bachelor franchise after 19 years, Deadline reported Tuesday
- In February, Harrison came under fire for defending a contestant who was pictured at a 2018 antebellum-themed fraternity formal
- He announced shortly afterwards he would be ‘stepping aside’ from his role
- Harrison was reportedly offered an eight-figure payout that requires him to ‘keep his mouth shut’ following months of tense negotiations
- Former contestants are now hosting the current season of The Bachelorette and the franchise announced a rotating list of hosts for The Bachelor in Paradise
Longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison is officially exiting the romantic competition show in the wake of comments he made defending a contestant who appeared in an antebellum-themed party.
Harrison – who served as the host of The Bachelor and its spinoffs, The Bachelorette and The Bachelor in Paradise, since 2002 – will be walking away with an eight-figure payout following months of tense negotiations with WBTV and Disney-owned ABC television, according to Deadline.
The outlet said that Harrison’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, had pledged to unleash a swath of lawsuits against the franchise unless the host received sufficient severance pay. The mid-eight-figure payout comes with a promise to ‘keep his mouth shut’, per Deadline.
Deadline reports that longtime host Chris Harrison was officially left his position on The Bachelor franchise on Tuesday, after serving as host for 19 years
Harrison allegedly defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos emerged of her at a 2018 Old South plantation-themed fraternity formal
An official announcement about the decision was expected to be made later Tuesday.
The report comes roughly five months after Harrison came under fire for an Extra interview in which he seemed to defend a contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, over 2018 photos that showed her participating in an Old South plantation-themed fraternity formal.
He said that in the February interview: ‘We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion’ toward Kirkconnell amid the turbulent times of the ‘woke police’ and cancel culture.
‘I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing, where people are tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents’ voting record,’ he said. ‘It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this.’
‘I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet,’ Harrison continued. ‘And until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this.’
Those comments sparked backlash online, and Harrison later took to Instagram to clarify his remarks.
‘While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering an opportunity to speak on her own behalf,’ he wrote. ‘What I realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am deeply sorry.’
By Valentine’s Day, Harrison announced he would be ‘stepping aside for a period of time’ during the show’s first season to feature a black Bachelor.
Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are now co-hosting the current Bachelorette season, and just last week, executives announced a rotating list of hosts for the franchise’s summer show, Bachelor in Paradise.
Bachelor Matt James wound up choosing Kirkconnell in the season finale
The current season of The Bachelorette, featuring Katie Thurston, is now being hosted by former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe
Kirkconnell, meanwhile, received the final rose from Bachelor Matt James in the March 15 season finale, but in the ‘After the Rose’ special that night, James said he had cut things off.
The couple is now ‘trying to make it work,’ James told the Wall Street Journal last month, and are now planning to move in together, according to Page Six.
James was reportedly ‘hesitant to publicly and outrightly confirm’ the relationship because it was ‘still fresh and they still have issues to work through,’ an unnamed source allegedly told Page Six .
‘Rachael already faced scrutiny for her past, and now all eyes have shifted to Matt,’ the source said. ‘So he’s feeling pressure to set a good example for other black men.’
The couple was recently seen together in Miami and the Hamptons.