Once canceled, always canceled seems to be the case for Chris Harrison, former long-time host of “The Bachelor.”
ABC announced that Harrison, who has been in the penalty box since he defended contestant Rachel Kirkconnell for having once attended an Antebellum-themed party while in college, won’t be returning for season seven of ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ an island-themed spinoff of The Bachelor.
In February, Harrison said of Kirkconell’s attendance at a fraternity party in 2018, “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this.”
After woke fans of the show attacked the comments on social media, Harrison quickly back-pedaled, saying, “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that, I am so deeply sorry.”
It was too late to save his job, however. The next day, he issued a statement announcing his departure from the show: “The historic season of ‘The Bachelor’ should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. 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,” he said. “I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”
ABC instead tapped ex-NFL player and host of “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” Emmanuel Acho, to step in for Harrison for the final recap episode.
A short time later, ABC issued a statement announcing Harrison would not be back to host “The Bachelorette,” either: “We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing. In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season. As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within The Bachelor franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
In March, Harrison seemed to make a plea for his job, telling Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan he was meeting with a race educator. “I plan to be back. I want to be back,” he said, adding, “Racism, oppression, these are big, dynamic problems and they take serious work. And I am committed to that work.”
But ABC is clearly not ready to have him back.
Instead of Harrison, the network has planned for a rotating series of hosts, including comedian David Spade. Page Six reported that ABC picked Spade “because he’s a ‘Bachelor’ superfan who’s built a cult following among fellow fans because of the hilarious commentary about the show that he doles out on his Instagram account.”
A source told E! News, Harrison was “disappointed’ by the news: “He’s been having conversations with his team and the studio and was hoping to be able to come back. He hopes his return will happen in 2022.”
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