Last week, Harrison announced his exit from the reality TV dating franchise he hosted since 2001. His exit came amid backlash he received for his defense of “Bachelor” Matt James’ final pick, Rachael Kirkconnell, and her participation in an Old South antebellum party when she was in college in 2018.
After issuing an apology for comments about Kirkconnell’s actions, Harrison stepped back from his hosting duties to do the work needed to educate himself on racism, but ultimately never returned to the franchise, even after vowing that he would be back.
Harrison was replaced by former “Bachelorette” stars Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams for the current season of “The Bachelorette,” and franchise star Wells Adams will be one of a rotating lineup of hosts for the upcoming season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Harrison Thinks It’s ‘Tacky” For Bachelor Stars To Go After His Job
Harrison’s departure from “The Bachelor” came after several stars from the franchise said they wouldn’t feel comfortable with him at the helm following the racism controversy.
According to Variety, current “Bachelorette” star Katie Thurston “flat-out” refused to star in her season of the rose-filled reality show if Harrison was the host. A source said Thurston spoke to Harrison directly to tell him she would not be comfortable working with him amid the backlash against him and that the conversation with the incoming leading lady “upset and hurt Harrison.”
Another insider told OK magazine that Harrison “felt blindsided and betrayed” by the behind-the-scenes events that led to his exit from the franchise. The hosting veteran felt the controversy “would blow over, and he’d be welcomed back” given his 20-year history with the ABC dating series.
“Chris might say he doesn’t hold grudges toward the guest hosts, but part of him thinks it’s tacky of other stars to be gunning for his job so soon,” an insider told the outlet. “Chris feels like the way they pushed him out was unfair. There are whispers he could be planning a tell-all on secrets of the show.”
The source added that Harrison’s settlement with ABC may have included a non-disclosure clause to keep him silent, but that the fallen host has plenty of friends “tied to the show who want to speak out on his behalf and expose the dirtier scandals fans don’t even know about. “
Page Six previously reported that Harrison threatened to expose the “nearly 20 years of dirt” he has on the behind-the-scenes of the ABC dating franchise if he didn’t get an eight-figure payout in the $25 million range.
The Page Six source noted that Harrison has the dirt on “fights between contestants, misbehavior including use of illegal substances while overseas and complaints from producers that were allegedly brushed under the carpet by ABC execs,” and was “ready to tell the truth about how things really work over there.”
Other Members of Bachelor Nation Are Standing Behind Harrison
After Harrison officially announced his exit from “The Bachelor’ franchise, former stars of the series reacted on social media. Many, including fan favorites Sean Lowe, Ashley Iaconetti, and Tanner Tolbert, offered the former “Bachelor” host support and said the franchise will “never be the same” without him. Some even vowed to quit watching the show they once appeared on.
“What a loss for the show,” wrote veteran cast member Michelle Money of Harrison’s exit. “Many people won’t be watching anymore. Myself included. One thing I know is that you will rise above all of this! Can’t wait to see what is next for you!”
Harrison’s replacement hosts also spoke out.
“You are truly irreplaceable as a host, thank you for all the years you put into this show and making it what it is,” wrote Bristowe on Instagram. “No one does it quite like Mr. Chris Harrison.”
Tayshia Adams told Entertainment Tonight that she still has a relationship with Harrison and looks “fondly on those memories that I do have with him.”
“I support him in whatever he wants to do in the future, whatever that career path that is,” she added.