“Bachelor” host Chris Harrison said Saturday that he is “stepping down” from the show “for a period” after defending a front runner the current season that has been scrutinized for social media photos from their past.
“This historic season of The Bachelor shouldn’t be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes, or affected by my actions,” said the host and producer of the ABC reality show in one Instagram post.
“To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for some time and not participating in the After the Final Rose special.”
This is the 25th season of ABC’s hugely popular reality dating franchise, and the first in which ABC starred a black man, Matt James.
Harrison had apologized on Wednesday after speaking on behalf of Rachael Kirkconnell, a candidate who was reportedly photographed at an antebellum plantation fraternity celebration in 2018.
In his Saturday post, Harrison wrote that he was “deeply repentant” of the pain and damage his “ignorance” had caused to his “friends, colleagues and strangers alike.”
“To the Black Community, to the BIPOC Community: I’m so sorry. My words were harmful. I listen and really apologize for my ignorance and the pain it has caused you,” Harrison wrote.
“I would like to thank the people from these communities with whom I have had insightful conversations over the past few days from my heart, and I am very grateful to those who have tried to help me on my way to anti-racism.”
Kirkconnell, in one Instagram Post Thursday Night, wrote that “her ignorance was racist” and that she “did not realize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that does not excuse her.”
She apologized to the communities and individuals for the harm and abuse they had done, and wrote that she was “ashamed of my lack of education.”
“I do not believe that an apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but I hope that through my future actions I can earn your forgiveness,” she wrote.
Success! An email was sent to with a link to confirm the list registration.
Error! An error occurred while processing your request.
Harrison didn’t say how long he would stand aside.
“I strive to educate myself on a deeper and more productive level than ever before,” he wrote. “I want to make sure our cast and crew, my friends, colleagues and our fans that this is not just a moment, but a commitment to a much better understanding that I will actively do every day.”
Earlier this week, Harrison told Extra correspondent and ex-star of The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, that Kirkconnell’s pictures were a long time ago and that they spoke out against the abandonment culture.
“I saw a picture of her at a sisterhood party five years ago and that was it. Like, boom,” said Harrison, adding, “I’m like, ‘Really?'”
Lindsay replied, “The picture is from 2018 at an Old South Antebellum Party. That doesn’t look good.”
Harrison replied, “Well, Rachel, is 2018 looking good? Or isn’t it looking good in 2021? Because there is a big difference.”
“It never looks good,” said Lindsay. “If I went to this party, what would I represent at this party?”
“You’re 100% right in 2021,” Harrison said then. “That wasn’t the case in 2018. And again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018, I don’t know. That was kind of a party that a lot of people attended. And again, I’m not defending it . I didn’t go there. “
In another Instagram post on Wednesday, Harrison apologized for his original defense of Kirkconnell, writing:
“For my Bachelor Nation family – I’ll always have a mistake if I make one, so I’m here to offer my heartfelt apologies. I have this incredible platform to talk about love, and yesterday I got on topics that I should talk about have been better informed. “
“While I am not speaking for Rachael Kirkconnell, I just wanted to beg her mercy by giving her the opportunity to speak on her own behalf,” he continued. “What I realize now is that I have done harm by speaking wrongly in a way that perpetuates racism, and I am very sorry. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for telling her about a subject She has, has not listened better. I understand firsthand and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation for reaching out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better. “