Former ‘Bachelor’ Producer Addresses ABC’s Decision to Replace Chris Harrison on ‘The Bachelorette’

Chris Harrison

ABC/Craig Sjodin

A former Bachelor producer is commending ABC after the network announced Chris Harrison would not be returning as host for the upcoming season of The Bachelorette.

“I think it’s such a move in the right direction,” the producer from 2002-2004, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, told Us Weekly. “Watching Chris’ interview on Extra, I was like, ‘This is a master class in oppression, and it feels so dated.’ Like, it feels like such a dinosaur. Him cutting her off and talking over her, and saying, like, ‘Well I don’t know which group is right in this case,’ and it’s, like, well obviously the group that’s oppressed probably knows more about it than you do.”

She continued, “He just seems so behind the times and I think that it’s such an appropriate decision to just update the franchise. Take a look at the executive producer ranks, take a look at the host, like, bring it into 2021.”

Harrison faced calls for his resignation after he defended Rachael Kirkconnell’s participation in an antebellum-themed party on Extra.

He questioned if the photos would have been considered a bad look when they were taken in 2018. “Is it a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference,” he told Extra correspondent and former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. She responded, “It’s not a good look ever.”

“That was not the case in 2018,” Harrison continued. “I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went too. … Where is this lens we’re holding up and was this lens available, and were we all looking through it in 2018?”

Amid the backlash, Harrison issued two apologies, one announcing he would be “stepping aside for a period of time.”

The author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho, hosted the After the Final Rose special.

ABC Announced  Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams Would Host Katie Thurston’s Season of ‘The Bachelorette’

ABC announced former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams are taking over for Harrison during Katie Thurston’s season of the popular dating show.

“I commend them for taking a big step in the right direction,” Shapiro told the outlet. “It just feels more exciting and more relevant.”

“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 also included a promise for greater representation behind the scenes, “including among the executive producer ranks.”

Harrison’s long-term future with the franchise remains unclear. Thurston’s season was expected to start filming this past weekend in New Mexico.

Shapiro’s Show ‘UnREAL’ Touched on These Issues During a 2016 Season

Shapiro called out Harrison’s on-screen argument, saying a similar subject was covered on the Lifetime show she created, UnREAL.

UnREAL is the fictional story of the producers behind a reality dating show, Everlasting. It has drawn clear parallels with The Bachelor franchise.

“I felt like Chris sort of claiming that he didn’t know if a picture at a plantation would’ve been a good look in 2018 — he’s like, ‘How would she have known? The lens in 2020 didn’t exist yet.’ — really touched a nerve for me because UnREAL very much served this storyline in 2016 and the genre was very much put on notice by that season within the entertainment community,” Shapiro explained to Us Weekly. “It was definitely talked about. Like, UnREAL had a Black male lead before the other show had [one] … and so I absolutely know he was aware of that and I just call complete and utter bulls–t on that being his defensive.”

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