The latest season of The Bachelor has been plagued by controversy, much of it stemming from host Chris Harrison's attempt to minimize the past racist behavior of contestant Rachel Kirkconnell. In the backlash that followed, Harrison ended up stepping aside from his 20-year role as Bachelor host for the duration of the season and will not return for the After the Rose finale special. "I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before," Harrison wrote on Instagram. "I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to my friends, colleagues and our fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make every day."
While there has been no official announcement from ABC about when Harrison would be returning to his on-screen role (he is still serving as executive producer), there are rumors that he won't be returning as the host at all. According to The Sun, it's a matter of "when not if" Harrison gets fired from his hosting gig. "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."
However, the possible removal of Harrison is just one part of an organization on the brink of systemic change. "There have been big staffing changes on all levels," the source spilled to The Sun. "More people of color have been hired as producers, editors, sound engineering, administrative positions and everything in between. ABC is also implementing more diversity training for everyone involved on the show."
"Chris was the loose thread that unraveled the whole production but the problems stem across the board," the Sun source claimed. One of the names that have been floated as a possible replacement is former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who was interviewing Harrison when he made the offending remarks. While Lindsay didn't rule it out, she seemed hesitant to return to the franchise in that large of a capacity.
"Honestly, I can't even go there. Because one, Chris has only said that he's stepping aside, and that's all that I know, that he's not doing the finale," she told People. "It's hard for me to even think about being the host, because in a lot of ways, Bachelor Nation has changed my life in the best way possible. But at the same time, it's really toxic. ... And I don't know if I want to subject myself to that."
"I don't know if I want to play into the whole line of thinking that people think I did this to get Chris Harrison's job. It's so wild," Lindsay continued. "Yeah, I went to go have an interview with a person to recap last night's episode and I thought, 'You know what? Today's the day I'm going to try to take your job.' How would I even think like that? But that's the kind of stuff that people say about me. So for me, I really don't know — I don't know if that's something that's for me."