As this season of The Bachelor has aired, off-screen scandals have forced the franchise to reckon with its handling of race. At the center of much of the controversy has been longtime host Chris Harrison.
Yet, as everything has unfolded, ABC has remained largely silent. Now, mere hours after Reality Steve first broke the news, ABC has issued a statement addressing who will host season 17 of The Bachelorette.
“Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of ‘The Bachelorette,’” read the statement signed by Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment. “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.”
The statement continued, “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. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
ABC’s announcement comes as much uncertainty surrounds Harrison’s future with the dating competition. The longtime host faced backlash and calls for his resignation after admittedly “excusing historical racism” during an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay in which he questioned if a Bachelor contestant’s involvement in an antebellum-themed party would be considered “not a good look” under a 2018 lens. Days later, he announced he was “stepping aside for a period of time.”
The network has not addressed Harrison’s future on the show beyond the upcoming season.
The 49-year-old will also be absent from Monday’s After the Final Rose special. In his place will be Emmanuel Acho, the author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.
Bachelor Nation Issued a Statement of Support for Lindsay After She Quit Instagram Over Harassment
Some of Harrison’s supporters amid the controversy placed their blame on Lindsay. As the harassment grew, the former Bachelorette deactivated her Instagram. After stars started coming to her defense, many using the hashtag #IStandWithRachel, Bachelor Nation producers issued a statement in her defense.
“As Executive Producers of The Bachelor Franchise we would like to make it perfectly clear that any harassment directed towards Rachel Lindsay in the aftermath of her interview with Chris Harrison is completely inexcusable,” they wrote on the official Bachelor Nation social media accounts. “Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often than not, has been rooted in racism. That is totally unacceptable. Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equity and inclusion.”
During his first interview on Good Morning America following the backlash, Harrison joined in the condemnation of Lindsay’s harassers and issued another apology to Lindsay. She has since said she accepts his apology and returned to the platform.
STOP! Spoilers on season 17 of The Bachelorette below.
The Rumored Bachelorette Called for Harrison to ‘Take More Time’ Away From the Franchise
This announcement comes the day after Katie Thurston tweeted, “I hope that Chris Harrison continues to take more time to step away while sincerely educating himself & dedicating himself to the work.”
Her statement was especially telling as Reality Steve reported she was announced as the next Bachelorette during the After the Final Rose taping.