Why did Chris Harrison leave The Bachelor?

Chris Harrison has opted to step away from The Bachelor franchise for the foreseeable future, after being embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of his career.

Chris Harrison’s role as the host of the long-running The Bachelor series has been put on hold indefinitely, after he publicly defended the actions of contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell. The controversy began when the 24-year-old winner of Matt James’ season of The Bachelor was lambasted for old social media posts which saw her dressed in Native American attire for an antebellum plantation–themed college party in 2018. This is known to honour the period when African-Americans were acknowledged as slaves.

In early February 2021, Chris spoke with former The Bachelorette lead, Rachel Lindsay, in an interview with Extra. Chris asked for the audience to show compassion and grace to Rachael, as not everyone was as aware in 2018 as they are in 2021. The public was outraged by his comments and accused him of sympathising with a racist, which, in turn, supposedly encourages White supremacy.

On Thursday, 11 February 2021, Chris issued his first formal apology, where he acknowledged his wrong in defending Rachael. After further reflection, on Saturday, 13 February 2021, he announced that he would be stepping away from the franchise indefinitely and would not be hosting the After The Final Rose special of Matt James’ season.

In March 2021, it was announced that former The Bachelorette leads, Taysha Adams and Kaitlyn Bristow, would be co-hosting the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, with no mention of Chris appearing on any of The Bachelor shows or spin-offs.