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Chris Harrison stepped away from the franchise last month after defending Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions

By Ashley Boucher
March 12, 2021 11:31 PM
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chris harrison, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe
Credit: getty images (3)

Chris Harrison will not be hosting the upcoming season of The Bachelorette.

Two fan-favorite former Bachelorettes, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, will be taking Harrison's place, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a joint statement to PEOPLE on Friday.

"Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of The Bachelorette," the statement said.

"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."

Chris Harrison
Chris Harrison
| Credit: Eric McCandless/Getty Images

"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," the statement said. "These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world."

After the news was announced, Bristowe shared a video of herself and Adams dancing together. "Let's go girls," she captioned the clip.

Harrison, 49, stepped away from the franchise last month after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions. In an interview for Extra with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, Harrison questioned the "lens" of 2021 compared to 2018 and said that people should have "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" for resurfaced social media posts of Kirkconnell's.

The posts showed her dressed in Native American attire as a costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed college party in 2018. Kirkconnell, a contestant on Matt James' current season of The Bachelor, has since issued an apology and asked those defending her actions to "please stop."

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Harrison's departure came after backlash for his comments to Lindsay, 35. Emmanuel Acho will be hosting the After the Final Rose special in Harrison's place.

While it's not clear when Harrison will return to the franchise, he said earlier this month on Good Morning America that he does plan on coming back eventually.

He shared in the interview that he is working with "a race educator and strategist" as well as faith leaders and scholars, like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.

"Dr. Dyson often talks to me about counsel, not cancel. That is full accountability … owning from that, learning from that. Seeking council from the community that you hurt, gaining experience knowledge and moving forward," Harrison said on GMA.

"I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I didn't speak for my heart, that is to say I stand against all forms of racism ... I'm sorry to Rachel Lindsay and I'm sorry to the Black community," he said, adding that he is "committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise."

The Bachelor: After the Final Rose will air on Monday, March 15 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, immediately following the season finale of The Bachelor.