Chris Harrison has hired power attorney Bryan Freedman, according to TMZ. While Harrison has not taken any legal action just yet, it seems that he’s covering all of his bases while he awaits word on his future.
Of course, it is entirely possible that Harrison hired a lawyer for some other reason that doesn’t have anything to do with his job as Bachelor franchise host, but the folks over at TMZ seem to think the two are directly related.
“Hiring a lawyer is a sign Chris is clearly worried he might get permanently sacked from the show. It sends a signal to producers he’s not going down without a fight, although again,” the outlet reported.
Harrison decided to take some time away from the Bachelor franchise after he made some racially insensitive comments during an interview with former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay on ExtraTV back in February.
“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,” Harrison wrote in an Instagram statement on February 13. He has not returned to social media since.
Harrison will not return to host the new season of The Bachelorette, according to ABC. The network has brought on Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams to help guide Katie Thurston on her love journey. Her season is currently filming and is set to premiere on June 1, 2021.
With Harrison’s fate lying in the balance, there are a number of different reasons why he may have hired a lawyer.
Here’s what you need to know:
Harrison May Choose to Sue ABC if He Loses His Job
If Harrison is fired from the Bachelor franchise, he may have a case to take legal action. According to The Hollywood Gossip, Harrison may choose to sue those associated with the show — and ABC — for wrongful termination. As the site points out, he doesn’t have a case right now; he has not yet been fired and he himself chose to take some time away from his hosting gig.
According to the website for firm Kingsley & Kingsley, there are a number of different examples for wrongful termination. They include, sexual harassment and hostile work environment, race discrimination, retaliation over workers’ compensation claims, and wage and hour dispute.
There are several things that factor into any lawsuit, but in hiring an attorney like Freedman, Harrison can rest assured that he’s protecting himself — and he will get excellent representation if and when the time comes to take action.
Freedman has worked with several other celebrities, representing Gabrielle Union, Kate Beckinsale, Mariah Carey, Robert Downey Jr., and many more, according to his bio on the Freedman + Taitelman website.
Harrison May Have a Defamation Case
The Hollywood Gossip also speculates about a possible defamation of character lawsuit. The outlet points out that this may be unlikely for two main reasons.
First, “it’s exceptionally hard for a public figure to win a suit based on these grounds,” and secondly “ABC has not said anything negative about Harrison in public.”
“Defamation law walks a fine line between the right to freedom of speech and the right of a person to avoid defamation,” according to the FindLaw website.
“On one hand, a reasonable person should have free speech to talk about their experiences in a truthful manner without fear of a lawsuit if they say something mean, but true, about someone else. On the other hand, people have a right to not have false statements made that will damage their reputation,” an explanation on the site reads.
Harrison may not have a defamation case, but this kind of lawsuit may not be completely off the table.