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Chris Harrison to Temporarily Step Down As Host of ‘The Bachelor’

Announcement Comes on the Heels of a Controversial Interview Where He Defended Racism

Chris Harrison, the familiar host of ABC’s veteran “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” franchise, has announced he is temporarily stepping down as host. The announcement comes in the wake of a controversial interview, in which he defended a current contestant’s racist photos.

“This historic season of ‘The Bachelor’ should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison wrote in an announcement posted to Instagram, referencing the current lead of the show, Matt James, who is the first Black male lead. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”

Harrison added that he was “dedicated” to educating himself on a more profound and productive level. “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 every day,” he said.

Harrison faced tremendous backlash online this week after defending a contestant who has been accused of racist acts. Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black female lead and one of the show’s strongest advocates for racial justice, said Friday that she will not renew her contract with the franchise as a result of Harrison’s comments.