'The Bachelor' host Chris Harrison says he's 'stepping aside' from the series and apologizes for 'excusing historical racism'

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Darcy Schild
·4 min read
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Chris Harrison
Harrison has hosted "The Bachelor" and its spinoffs since 2002. John Fleenor via Getty Images
  • Chris Harrison said Saturday that he's "stepping aside" from "The Bachelor."

  • Harrison also apologized for "excusing historical racism" and using the term "woke police."

  • The host came under fire for defending a contestant's photos of a plantation-themed college party.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chris Harrison, the longtime host of "The Bachelor" and its other spinoffs on ABC, said Saturday in an Instagram post that he's "stepping aside" from the show "for a period of time."

The full post reads:

"I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful. 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 of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same.

"By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.

"To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people from these communities who I've had enlightening conversations with over the past few days, and I am so grateful to those who have reached out to help me on my path to anti-racism.

"This 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. 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 every day.

"From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you. I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself."

Harrison recently came under fire for defending a current contestant's former photos that she acknowledged were 'racist'

As Insider's Gabbi Shaw reported, former contestants from "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" demanded accountability for the franchise and Harrison after an interview in which he defended a contestant's controversial photos.

The backlash came after Harrison's Extra interview with "The Bachelorette" former star Rachel Lindsay, who was the franchise's first Black lead. The two discussed photos that had been shared by Rachael Kirkconnell, a star on the current season of "The Bachelor." Kirkconnell was showed at a fraternity formal event in 2018 that was plantation-themed.

In the interview, Harrison defended Kirkconnell's photos and said there should be "grace" for Kirkconnell.

"First and foremost, I don't know. I haven't talked to Rachael about it, we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," Harrison said in the Extra interview. "I have seen some stuff online, again, this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart… Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this… I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago that's it."

As Gabbi Shaw reported, the female contestants of "The Bachelor" season 25 banded together to share a message expressing their disappointment in Harrison's interview with Lindsay, in which he called for "a little understanding" for Kirkconnell's photos.

Kirkconnell responded to the backlash on Instagram on Thursday, writing: "I didn't recognize how offensive and racist my actions were but that doesn't excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist."

Harrison previously shared an apology post on Thursday.

Representatives for ABC did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Insider