It’s official: Chris Harrison has been booted off the Bachelor franchise. Deadline broke the news, confirming the longtime host’s exit is permanent this time. Deadline’s Dominic Pattern writes, “Having fronted the Mike Fleiss-created The Bachelor and all its lucrative ABC spinoffs since 2002, Harrison will receive a rose of his own in the form of mid-range eight-figure payoff and promise to keep his mouth shut, I hear. The usual platitudes are expected to be exchanged for public consumption when the agreement is made public later today, but there is certainly no romance in the air behind the scenes.”
Pattern also reports that Harrison’s reps had been involved in “increasingly intense negotiations” over the past few days, until ultimately reaching a settlement with the Bachelor producers and distributor Warner Horizon. However, neither ABC nor Harrison have released a statement on him leaving the franchise yet.
Harrison’s exit isn’t very surprising. The host received plenty of backlash from fans for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnnell after it was revealed she’d participated in an Antebellum South-themed party that hearkened to plantation life. The backlash only got stronger after Harrison gave an interview with first Black Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra, where he claimed that dressing up like Kirkconnell did for a party wasn’t problematic until the Black Lives Matter movement came to the forefront. After pissing off too many people, Harrison issued a formal apology, saying, “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.”
Since then, ABC decided to instead have former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe guide new Bachelorette Katie Thurston through choosing her suitors. It was also recently announced that David Spade and other comics would be taking turns hosting Bachelor In Paradise.