Rachel Lindsay, the first black “Bachelorette” in the franchise, expressed surprise that longtime host, Chris Harrison, exited the show for good after being accused of perpetuating racism.
Speaking with Billy Bush on “Extra,” Lindsay said she was not expecting him to fully exit the show he has hosted since 2002.
“I wasn’t expecting for it to happen, not after the announcement,” she said.
Lindsay believes that Harrison’s eventual exit was made possible by several former contestants coming forward to complain.
“I think several past contestants coming forward and saying they didn’t want him to be part of ‘Paradise.’ I think Katie Thurston, her very last tweet before she went to film her season was that Chris needed to step away,” Lindsay explained. “I think that, coupled with the interview that happened on this very stage, maybe led to him not coming back.”
Harrison stepped onto a minefield of controversy earlier this year when he defended “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos surfaced of her attending an “Old South” themed party in 2018 at a plantation. The host decried cancel culture while saying that social media should not be “judge, jury, and executioner” while asking fans to give Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding” as she apologizes. After swift backlash, Harrison apologized and attempted to educate himself on race relations.
“I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf,” he wrote at the time. “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. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.”
After stepping away from the show for a few months, it was believed that Chris Harrison would return to the franchise he had hosted for 19 years. As The Daily Wire reported on Tuesday, insiders say that Harrison was forced out:
Hours after the premiere of season 17 of The Bachelorette, Deadline reported that the show’s longtime host Chris Harrison has exited the franchise for good.
According to the report, Harrison received a “mid-range eight-figure payoff” for his continued silence on the confidential behind-the-scenes of the show. Harrison began hosting “The Bachelor” in 2002 and hosted the franchise’s spin-off shows including “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “Bachelor Pad,” “The Bachelor Winter Games,” and more.
Rachel Lindsay believed that ABC might have just decided they wanted to inject some new blood into the mix.
“Well, it’s been 19 years and if you do watch the show we saw less and less of Chris,” she said. “19 years is a big accomplishment. Maybe that’s the case. We don’t know. Maybe they were ready to move on.”
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