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Earlier this month, Chris Harrison announced he'd be "stepping aside for a period of time" from ABC's The Bachelor franchise

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 26, 2021 09:15 AM
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Chris Harrison's previously taped episode of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune came with a disclaimer while it aired two weeks after The Bachelor host stepped back from the franchise.

On Thursday, the seventh episode of the star-studded game show aired on ABC, featuring Harrison, 49, playing to raise money for the Feeding America charity, as well as Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec and America's Funniest Home Videos host Alfonso Ribeiro.

When host Pat Sajak began introducing the celebrity guests, text on the bottom of the screen read "This episode was previously recorded in December 2020."

The addition of the disclaimer comes two weeks after Harrison announced he'd be stepping aside for an unspecified amount of time from ABC's The Bachelor franchise after making controversial, racially insensitive statements, for which he has since apologized.

During the Celebrity Wheel of Fortune episode, Sajak remarked about the amount of Bachelor Nation spin-off shows Harrison hosted at the time. "How many shows do you have on the air?" Sajak asked.

Harrison jokingly replied, "I'm just going to keep milking this cow as long as I can, Pat!"

CHRIS HARRISON
Chris Harrison on Wheel of Fortune
| Credit: Christopher Willard/ ABC

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"It is amazing," he later says about The Bachelor's popularity. "Look, the show's been going on almost two decades now. I've been there since day one and Bachelor Nation, as we call them, are as serious and devout as you can get in this business. So it stays fresh."

The controversy involving Harrison arose when Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old frontrunner on Matt James' current season of The Bachelor, was called out for old social media posts which saw her dressed in Native American attire for a costume and attending an antebellum plantation–themed college party in 2018. She has since apologized.

Harrison addressed the situation during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay — who was the franchise's first Black lead — on Extra. During their 14-minute, unedited conversation, he said people should have "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" in the wake of the resurfaced photos and questioned the "lens" of 2021 compared to 2018.

CHRIS HARRISON
Credit: Christopher Willard/ ABC

After receiving backlash for his remarks, Harrison issued two apologies and announced that he would be stepping away from the franchise.

"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," Harrison wrote in a lengthy statement shared on Instagram. 

"I set standards for myself, and have to meet 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," he added. "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," he said. "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."

"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," Harrison continued.

Harrison went on to write that he is "dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before."