Following the controversy that surrounded his Extra interview with Bachelor and Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay, Chris Harrison stepped aside as host of The Bachelor for the remainder of the current season. Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racism controversy drew lots of discussions, and Harrison excused her behavior, saying that people should have "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion." Following the backlash for his interview, Harrison stepped away from his public role for an "indeterminate amount of time."
"By excusing historical racism, I defended it,” Harrison said in an Instagram apology. "I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong."
Harrison's replacement for After the Final Rose finale special has been named: Emmanuel Acho, who wrote the 2020 bestseller Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Acho is also a former NFL linebacker, an analyst for Fox Sports, and the co-host of Speak for Yourself. Acho shared the news on his Instagram account.
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"IT’S OFFICIAL: I’ve accepted the Rose and am honored to be hosting [The Bachelor] After the Final Rose this year," Acho wrote. "It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. Share the news! I’ll see y’all then!" In the episode, Acho will be sitting down with Bachelor Matt James and his final three women, Bri, Michelle, and Rachael, to discuss how the season ends and all of the controversy that has embroiled the franchise.
Lindsay mentioned Acho earlier in the week in an interview with People as her pick to replace Harrison for the finale. "For AFTR, Bryan [Abasolo, her husband] and I both talked about this — we think Emmanuel Acho would be fantastic," Lindsay explained. "[He's] very outspoken about racial injustice, for social justice, and has pretty much been the person who said, 'I can have these uncomfortable conversations, and people trust it.' Who better to lead it? [He's] someone who's not involved with the franchise, no ties, no bias — I think it'd be great."
Abasolo echoed her sentiments. "I think Emmanuel Acho would be the perfect person to have those uncomfortable conversations with the contestants, with Matt at the end of the day, and I think it would really be a positive step forward."
It is still unclear when or if Harrison will return as Bachelor host, but The Sun reported that there are rumors that Harrison is out for good as part of a diversity push company-wide. "It's only a matter of time before an announcement is made that Chris isn't returning," the source hinted to The Sun. "At this point, it's not if, it's when. There are still talks of keeping him as an executive producer. But unless Chris somehow turns this around, his role on-camera is done."