Chris Harrison to Step Aside Amid Racism Controversy on The Bachelor

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Wow, you guys.

Just... wow.

Facing serious backlash for the way he has handled a race-based controversy on Season 25 of The Bachelor, Chris Harrison announced on Saturday that he's stepping back as host.

Chris Harrison as the Host

"I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful,' wrote Harrison on Instagram.

"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."

To what, exactly, is Harrison referring here?

Chris Harrison on the Couch

Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell has been at the center of an ongoing scandal after photos emerged online of the Season 25 favorite attending a plantation-themed party.

She also Liked photos of the Confederate Flag in the past and was accused of a former high school classmate of mistreating Black students.

Kirkconnell has since admitted her actions were "racist," said she was "wrong" and has vowed to do better.

Matt James and Chris Harrison

She said these words not long after Harrison got in trouble for what he said about Rachael in an inteview with ex-Bachelorette lead Rachel Lindsay.

“I haven’t talked to Rachael about it, we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," he said at that time.

"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..."

Rachael Kirkconnell Insta Pic

Harrison continued in his apparent defense of Rachael attending "Old South" parties:

"I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago that’s it... My guess?"

"These girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were 18 years old."

"Now, does that make it OK? I don’t know Rachel, you tell me."

Clare Crawley and Chris Harrison Pic

Harrison ended up apologizing for the insensitive nature of his remarks, but it was a matter of too little, too late in the eyes of many.

For the first time in series history, The Bachelor suitors got together to condemn any and all defenses of racism in the wake of Kirkconnell's behavior.

That, and Harrison's awkward, bumbling response.

Now he's out, and trying to explain himself.

Rachael Kirkconnell Image

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

"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."

women statement

He continued:

"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."

harrison statement

Following her chat with Harrison, Lindsay hinted strongly this week that she was sick of being associated with The Bachelor franchise.

And this is all happening, of course, with Matt James, the show's first-ever Black lead, as the focus of each episode.

Wrote Harrison today:

"The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions."

Matt James Gets Serious

Chris adds:

"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."

It doesn't sound as if Harrison will appear again this season, and no replacement has been announced.

Rachael Kirkconnell with Matt James

"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," he concluded.

"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."

Again, wow. And this situation is even crazier when you see how the season allegedly ends (see gallery above).

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