Although Bachelor Nation fans knew it was just a matter of time, the inevitable happened on June 8, 2021: Chris Harrison was officially let go from his hosting duties. Chris's controversial defense of Rachael Kirkconnell's past, racist behavior — which included her attending an "Old South" antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018 — sparked intense backlash in February.
Since his leave of absence has now been made permanent, folks have wondered: What will Chris do next?
Chris Harrison released a statement about his exit from 'The Bachelor' franchise.
Following news that David Spade and a rotating cast of other guest hosts would replace Chris on the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise, Chris took to Instagram to express gratitude for his time with the franchise.
“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,” he wrote alongside a photo of himself during a taping of After the Final Rose. “While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime."
It was Chris's discussion in February 2021 with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra following the Rachael Kirkconnell scandal that ultimately led to his exit.
"We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," he said at the time of Rachael's widespread cancelation. “Because I've seen some stuff online … again, this 'judge, jury, executioner' thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart."
He continued: “Who is Rachel Lindsay and who is Chris Harrison and who is whatever woke police person out there, who are you [to tell her to speak out]?” he asked. “I’ve heard this a lot of, ‘I think she should,’ ‘I think he should.’ Who the hell are you? Who are you that you demand that?”
Even after Rachel Lindsay pointed out that Rachael still hadn't spoken out or apologized six weeks after the troubling photo came to light, Chris continued to defend her. He apologized the following day and announced a leave of absence from The Bachelor franchise.
What will Chris Harrison do next?
Things for Chris have been a bit complicated since he was officially let go from his Bachelor hosting duties. “The whole situation is frustrating for him,” an insider told Us Weekly. “Until things are settled legally and contractually, he can’t even plan his next steps.”
“He’s been getting all kinds of offers on projects, so he’s hoping to lock something in soon,” the source told the publication. “He has a team who has been supporting him this entire time and is working on his next move. He’s hosted other shows in the past so safe to say this isn’t the end of Chris Harrison hosting!”
Watch The Bachelorette — featuring Kate Thurston as the Bachelorette and Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe as hosts — Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.