Chris Harrison is exiting reality show The Bachelor after 19 years.
Harrison’s departure comes after some controversy earlier this year, when it was revealed that Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell had attended a “plantation-themed” sorority party in 2018.
After the scandal came to light, Harrison spoke about it in an interview on Extra, condemning critics of Kirkconnell for playing “judge, jury, executioner.”
“This poor girl Rachael, who has just been thrown to the lions, I don’t know how you are equipped when you have never done this before, to be woke enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this. And my guess is, this woman needs a little time.”
Kirkconnell apologized for her “racist and offensive actions,” but Harrison’s comments garnered their own backlash, prompting him to apologize on social media and television.
He then went on a “temporary” hiatus from the show and didn’t appear on the After the Final Rose special at the end of the season. Guest host Emmanuel Acho filled in for Harrison.
On Tuesday, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment released a joint statement.
“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”
Harrison posted his own statement to Instagram:
Industry publication Deadline reports that Harrison had been in “intense negotiations” with Warner Bros. Television and ABC in recent days but could not come to an agreement before his contract deadline passed.
As part of his exit deal, the publication reports, Harrison has agreed to stay mum on the franchise’s “dirty laundry” and is set to receive an eight-figure payout.
Former Bachelor winner Colton Underwood reacted to the news on Instagram, calling Harrison a “Grade A human being,” and a “stand up guy and a hell of a host.”
It was announced in March that Harrison would also not be returning to host season 17 of The Bachelorette.
The next season of Bachelor in Paradise will be co-hosted by show creator Mike Fleiss and actor David Spade.
Global News has reached out to ABC to verify the report about Harrison’s payout.
— With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz
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