‘The Bachelor’ Breaks Up With Host Chris Harrison After Racism Controversy

Chris Harrison on The Bachelor (Credit: ABC)

The Bachelor has ended its relationship with longtime host Chris Harrison.

Franchise producer and distributor Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment issued a joint statement Tuesday saying Harrison is exiting the reality dating series for good.

“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” the statement read. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”

Related Story: ‘Bachelor’ Host Chris Harrison Met With Race Scholar in Fight to Save Job

Harrison issued his own statement on social media saying he is looking forward to the future.

“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

Page Six reported Harrison received a multi-million dollar payout after “explosive” exit negotiations.

“Harrison had recently upped the ante on negotiations by hiring prominent LA lawyer Brian Freedman, who had previously represented Bachelor creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss’ wife in their bitter divorce,” the paper said.

He announced he was stepping away from The Bachelor franchise in February after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was accused of racism.

The TV host sparked anger when he spoke out about Kirkconnell during a contentious Feb. 9 interview with former Bachelorette lead Rachel Lindsay, who is now a correspondent on Extra.

Harrison later apologized, and in an interview with Good Morning America, said he hoped to return to the franchise.

“I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change,” he said. He also revealed he had met with race and religion scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson in a bid to save his job.

Harrison’s official exit from the series comes in the same week as the season 17 premiere of The Bachelorette. The series returned Monday night with former Bachelorette leads Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe hosting.