‘Bachelor’ host Chris Harrison ‘stepping aside’ temporarily over racism controversy

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By , RADIO.COM

Chris Harrison has announced he’ll be taking a break from his hosting duties on “The Bachelor” and apologized for the “pain my words have caused.”

Harrison released a statement on Saturday apologizing again for his controversial interview with former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay in which he defended current “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist behavior.

"I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful. My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke," Harrison began in an Instagram post.

"I set standards for myself, and have to meet them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same," he added. "By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong."

"To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you," the 49-year-old continued.. "I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people from these communities who I've had enlightening conversations with over the past few days, and I am so grateful to those who have reached out to help me on my path to anti-racism."

Harrison said he would be “stepping aside for a period of time” and would not be a part of the After the Final Rose special.

"The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison wrote. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special."

The controversy began after Harrison spoke out against the “woke police” and defended Kirkconnell’s insensitive past for wearing Native American attire and attending an antebellum plantation-themed ball.

During the interview with Lindsay, who was the first Black Bachelorette in 2017, Harrison said everyone should have “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" for Kirkconnell.

While Kirkconnell has since apologized for her "racist and offensive" actions, Harrison received backlash for his comments.

In response, he issued his first apology for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism."

It is unclear how long Harrison’s break for the franchise will be and who will be stepping in to host the After the Rose special.

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