Celebrity Wheel of Fortune made it clear that the episode starring Chris Harrison was filmed months ago when it aired Thursday, adding a disclaimer to the bottom of the screen amid the Bachelor host's ongoing racism scandal. "This episode was previously recorded in December 2020," the screen read upon Harrison's appearance. Episodes of The Bachelor featuring the show's host have yet to air with any kind of disclaimer, but Harrison will not be hosting the After the Final Rose special and announced he would be stepping away from the franchise for a "period of time."
Harrison has been embroiled in scandal after an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who was the franchise's first Black lead. In the Feb. 9 interview, he defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions, such as allegedly bullying a girl in the past for dating Black men, liking racist photos online and attending an Old South plantation-themed party in 2018, asking people to offer her "grace."
After the backlash surrounding the initial video, Harrison issued a statement apologizing for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism," which was quickly followed by a statement from Kirkconnell, who apologized for her actions, admitted her "ignorance was racist," and said she hoped to "earn your forgiveness through my future actions."
Harrison continued to receive backlash from fans as well as members of Bachelor Nation, at which point he announced he would be stepping away for an undisclosed period of time. "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," he continued in part.
Matt James, the current ABC lead and first Black Bachelor, released his own statement on the situation Monday, calling it "devastating and heartbreaking." Harrison's interview with Lindsay was "troubling and painful to watch," he continued and was a "clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years."
James said he was currently reevaluating and processing his own experience on The Bachelor, as well as that of the other BIPOC contestants in his season and past. "I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end," he concluded. "My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better."