Former ‘Bachelorette’ Rachel Lindsay breaks silence on Chris Harrison’s exit from the franchise

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Former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay spoke out following the departure of longtime host Chris Harrison

On Tuesday, the franchise’s host since 2002 confirmed he will not return to helm any of the upcoming “Bachelor” shows. The news comes following a controversy about racism that rocked the previous season and saw Harrison take a step back from the show after receiving backlash for an interview he did with Lindsay at the time. 

On “Extra” Tuesday, Lindsay spoke with co-host Billy Bush about the situation, noting that she is surprised the end result of everything is Harrison quitting the job he’s done for 19 years. 

“I wasn’t expecting for it to happen, not after the announcement,” she said (via People). 

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Although the racism scandal was the catalyst for Harrison stepping aside for this season of “The Bachelorette” and the upcoming “Bachelor in Paradise,” Lindsay added that she believes fans can only “speculate” about what else went into the decision not to bring Harrison back to the reality series. 

Rachel Lindsay spoke out about Chris Harrison's exit from ‘The Bachelor’ franchise.  

Rachel Lindsay spoke out about Chris Harrison’s exit from ‘The Bachelor’ franchise.  
(Paul Hebert via Getty Images)

“I think several past contestants coming forward and saying they didn’t want him to be part of ‘Paradise.’ I think Katie Thurston, her very last tweet before she went to film her season was that Chris needed to step away,” Lindsay explained. “I think that, coupled with the interview that happened on this very stage, maybe led to him not coming back.”

Harrison appeared on “Extra” in February for an interview with Lindsay in which he caught backlash for defending then-“Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after it came to light that she had attended an “Old South” themed party in 2018 at a plantation. At the time, Harrison argued that times were different three years ago and advocated for forgiving Kirkconnell.

The host caught swift and immediate backlash prompting him to issue an apology of his own. 

“I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf,” he wrote at the time

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“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. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable,” Harrison concluded. “I promise to do better.”

Rachel Lindsay spoke out about Chris Harrison's exit from ‘The Bachelor.’

Rachel Lindsay spoke out about Chris Harrison’s exit from ‘The Bachelor.’
(ABC)

He then announced that he would be stepping aside as the host of the franchise for a time of self-reflection. Although the show found replacements for Harrison for “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” he told “Good Morning America” in March that he planned to return to his hosting duties at some point in the future. However, Lindsay concluded her thoughts on the matter by noting that perhaps, after almost two decades, it was time for something new. 

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“Well, it’s been 19 years and if you do watch the show we saw less and less of Chris,” she noted. “19 years is a big accomplishment. Maybe that’s the case. We don’t know. Maybe they were ready to move on.”

Lindsay’s comments seem to echo those made by Harrison in an Instagram post confirming his departure as the host of the franchise. 

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“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. 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,” he wrote Tuesday.