Chris Harrison has officially exited ABC’s Bachelor franchise after 19 years as host of the reality dating series and its spinoffs.  Harrison, 49, will reportedly receive a massive payout to step away and stay mum about his departure.

Harrison’s exit comes four months after controversy first arose when Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old contestant who would go on to win Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, was called out for old social media posts which saw her dressed in Native American attire in costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed college party in 2018.  Harrison addressed the situation during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra in which he appeared to defend Kirkconnell, saying people should have “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” in the wake of the resurfaced photos and questioning the “lens” of 2021 compared to 2018. Following an outcry online, he issued a statement apologizing for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.”  He later announced that he would be “stepping aside” from the show for an undetermined “period of time.”

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