The 49-year-old ABC personality released a statement via Instagram announcing his decision.
“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 friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said ad 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,” he wrote.
Harrison’s statement continued: “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.”
The Texas native announced that he “will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.” Harrison noted that he remains “dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level.”
Harrison outraged Bachelor fans on Tuesday, February 9, when he suggested in an interview with Lindsay, 35, for Extra that people need to have “compassion” for Rachael Kirkconnell amid allegations of racism. Bachelor Nation members came together to call him out after the interview. Harrison issued a public apology, which Lindsay wasn’t quick to accept.
“When I finished that interview with Chris Harrison, he had no problems with it. He was fine. He texted me after, he appreciated the conversation. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get a little flack, but I thought it was great that we could disagree, but do it in a civil way,'” the former Bachelorette revealed during a Friday, February 12, episode of the “Higher Learning” podcast.
Several Bachelor Nation stars spoke out amid the scandal, some even calling for Harrison’s firing. Taylor Nolan, who appeared on season 21 of The Bachelor, started an online petition to get the host removed from his position. More than 30,000 people signed it.
To see how Bachelor Nation reacted to Chris Harrison’s temporary step down, keep scrolling.
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The Bachelorette alum slammed "cancel culture" and defended Harrison in a series of tweets on February 26. He wrote, "Cancel culture attacks and allows zero forgiveness, let's bring God back into our culture. God Forgives. You are not above GOD."
Kimball later tweeted, "If Chris Harrison is removed for good I'm going to raise absolute hell." He continued to defend the Bachelor host in subsequent replies.
"Educate yourself on something called the human condition, we are not perfect none of us. So stop condescendingly telling ppl to educate themselves," he said in response to a fan who expressed disappointment in his viewpoint on the matter.
Kimball wrote to another fan, "Hey Brett I'm not hearing your bulls--t on this one. Simply put, Chris can keep his job and Rachel can have support. Cancelling Chris doesn't really count as support for anyone. Get some more clout before you come at me."
Credit: Courtesy of Jordan Kimball/Instagram
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"I definitely think that was the right step for Chris to take a step back for now," the season 16 Bachelorette contestant told E!'s Daily Pop on February 23. "And even going forward, I honestly don't know how this will all shake out, but for myself for example, if they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on like Bachelor in Paradise or something like that — and I'm sure a lot of other contestants feel this way as well — I wouldn't feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank. ... It would just be too soon, really."
Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin
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“I think [Chris] taking a step back is definitely the right thing he should be doing,” the Bachelor Pad alum exclusively told Us on February 22, noting she doesn’t think it will be permanent. “I think that he's so closely tied to the show and he's an executive producer that [he] kind of just brushed it off. Like, he would take a quick step back, but that he would absolutely be returning for, like, Paradise or the following seasons.” The Bachelor season 16 alum noted that despite all the controversy she would be “shocked” if Harrison was gone for good.
The former Bachelor in Paradise star explained that she was hoping ABC would issue a statement about Kirkconnell and the racism allegations before the end of season 25, saying, “I feel like the window of opportunity has passed, which is really disappointing.”
She added: “I think the reason why they're being so sensitive about it, and I honestly think the reason why Chris was defending it is because she must be one of the finalists. She must be the one that matches this and that's why they're trying to protect her, but in doing so, they've really alienated a lot of their audience.”
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
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"As his friend, I choose to give Chris the benefit of the doubt that he will do the work that is necessary during his time away from the show to be better and learn from his mistakes. And they were mistakes," the original Bachelorette said on February 16 episode of her “Better Etc.” podcast.
She added: "I hate feeling disappointed, especially when it's in someone that I love and care about. But I have to believe he will do the work and he will hold himself accountable. And if he doesn't, he's got Bachelor Nation who will do it for him."
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The former Bachelorette star spoke out on Extra on February 15, two days after Harrison's announcement. "It was never my intention to see Chris Harrison step aside but it was my intention for others to see and hear this interview," she said of their controversial interview. "It's important to further and highlight these discussions. The only way to do that is to have these uncomfortable conversations so we can understand the underlying issues and implicit racism that exists within our society. When we can learn to recognize implicit and unconscious bias that history of our environments have taught us, then we can challenge one another to be better for ourselves but also for this society. Let's not label, let's not cancel but let's hold people accountable for their actions. Let's set the example in this generation so that we don't repeat the horrific mistakes from the past and so we can unify and be the change that this country needs to make this society better for the next generation."
Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
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The Bachelor season 18 contestant wrote on her blog, All the Pretty Pandas, that she was “indifferent to this news” because she did not think it would “make a real difference” for the future of the show.
“Yes, Chris Harrison’s the face of this franchise, but he’s not the one casting, not the one not doing social media checks, and not the one not hiring more people of color. This is a systemic problem with this franchise,” she wrote. “That’s what ultimately stands out to me about the whole saga: how the show has failed YET AGAIN. … The fact remains that out of 40 seasons, we’ve now had a whopping three Black leads, and with two out of three of them, there has been a known racist in the cast (or a person with known racist behaviors). There is something seriously wrong with that picture.”
Credit: Gregory Pace/Shutterstock
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Martinez responded to a comment from a fan outraged over Harrison's decision to step away from The Bachelor temporarily. The commenter wrote that the longtime host "DID NOTHING WRONG," adding, "We stand behind you in this, the world sucks when you can't say ANYTHING without people complaining!" Martinez responded, "aaaaaaaaand cue the angry white women."
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The podcast host, who appeared on Ben Higgins' season, responded to a tweet from Bachelor Nation blogger Reality Steve about who will host the After the Final Rose special in Harrison's absence. He suggested, as many have, that "Rachel Lindsay (if she even wants to) or Tayshia Adams should be hosting." Caridi agreed that Lindsay was the right fit, tweeting, "Absolutely should be Rachel considering she had to endure that interview."
Credit: Omar Vega/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
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The season 4 Bachelor showed support for Harrison following his announcement that he would be temporarily stepping down as The Bachelor host. He commented on the TV personality's Instagram post, "❤️❤️❤️."
Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock
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Matt James' Bachelor contestant addressed Harrison's temporary exit on Twitter. She noted that it was a step in the right direction but called for more action from Bachelor Nation.
"Chris stepping aside is a step. However, I'm waiting to hear the systematic changes the franchise will be evoking to combat the tokenization of BIPOC individuals. #BachelorNation," she wrote.
Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin
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“I think that when we cancel people, it's almost too easy,” Johnson told Lindsay on February 16, in an interview for Extra. “I feel that those individuals that have done something wrong need to say it with their chest, in other regards, as well.” The Bachelorette season 15 alum explained that “once they've been educated and learn in a public forum in comparison to riding the waves with millions of dollars and just never to be heard from again … I don't want to cancel the individual. I want the individual to speak up, speak to their audience, and curb their mindset.”
The Making the Love You Want author continued: “Let me speak direct — should the individual be removed from the Bachelor franchise? I think it's time for that. Should that individual be removed completely? No, because I think that individual has such a beautiful platform, it's such a beautiful privilege that we have to use it for good.”
Credit: Kristin Callahan/ACE Pictures/Shutterstock; Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock