Chris Harrison, host of “The Bachelor” is “stepping aside for a period of time” from the show amid the backlash he’s received from a controversial interview last week.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, Harrison announced his break from the show while issuing a second apology for his comments he made during an interview with former “Bachelorette” star, Rachel Lindsay, in which he was talking about racism and invoked the term, “woke police.”
“I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful,” Harrison wrote in a statement. “My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself, and have not met them. I feel that with every fiber in my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same.”
“To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful,” he added. “I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and pain it caused you.”
Harrison, who is in the midst of Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor,” also said he would not be joining the show’s After the Final Rose special, and implored fans of “The Bachelor” that his actions should not overshadow the current season.
He also said that he wants to commit to getting educated on his “path to anti-racism.”
“I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before. I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to my friends colleagues and our fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make everyday,” he wrote.
“From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you,” he added. “I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself.”
The controversy began when current “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell found herself in hot water after TikTok users found evidence of her liking social media posts with the confederate flag and sharing QAnon conspiracy theories.
And a little over a week ago, a post on Reddit allegedly showed the “Bachelor” contestant at a 2018 “Old South” college formal, a plantation-themed party.
On Thursday, Kirkconnell addressed her actions in an Instagram post and recognized that her actions were “offensive and racist.”
But Harrison, who has hosted “The Bachelor” and other shows from the franchise since 2002, came under fire when he defended the photos of Kirkconnell and alluded to her potentially being a victim of so-called “cancel culture.”
“People are tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this,” he told Lindsay during an interview she conducted with Harrison on Extra. “I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that’s it… like, boom. Like OK, well this girl is in the book now. And she’s now in this group and I’m like, ‘Really’?”
Lindsay responded, “Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party… that’s not a good look.”
“Well Rachel, is it a good look in 2018? Or is it a good look in 2021?” he told her. “Because there’s a big difference.”
Harrison ultimately walked back on his comments in an initial public apology to his Instagram Wednesday and said his choice of words was “a mistake.”
Now, many women of the “Bachelor” nation are coming together to “denounce any defense of racism.”
On Thursday night, a group of women who identify as BIPOC from the current season of “The Bachelor” shared a collective statement on each of their Instagram accounts demanding change.
Their statement followed with one from the men of season 16 of “The Bachelorette,” also denouncing racist behavior.
“As members of Season 16 of the 'Bachelorette,' it is important that we acknowledge where we stand at this time. We had the opportunity to be a part of the most diverse casts in the history of the franchise,” the statement read. “The addition of more people who identify as BIPOC has opened up the conversation on race, community, and who we are as people. A conversation that has been long overdue.”