The Bachelor franchise has boasted plenty of new eligible singles each season, but the one constant throughout the show was long-time host and face of the franchise, Chris Harrison.
So when the shocking news broke that Chris would be permanently leaving the show after 19 years, it stirred up plenty of responses from the Bachelor Nation alum.
However, fans most anticipated hearing Rachel Lindsay’s response because it was her televised conversation with Chris Harrison that played a large part in revealing just how much this series lacks in terms of it’s progressiveness and racial awareness.
Rachel has been one of the series’ most outspoken cast members when it comes to calling for better representation on the show. The illustrious first Black Bachelorette recently spoke out and shared her thoughts on Chris Harrison’s permanent exit from the juggernaut series.
Rachel shared with Extra that Harrison’s exit came as a surprise to her, stating, “I wasn’t expecting for it to happen, not after the announcement.”
While all the details behind what contributed to Harrison’s surprising exit and hefty payout may not yet be confirmed, Rachel threw out some reasons that may have played a part.
She went on to tell Extra, “I think several past contestants coming forward and saying they didn’t want him to be a part of (Bachelor in) Paradise. I think Katie Thurston, her very last tweet before she went to film her season, was that Chris needed to step away.” all could be events that pushed this major decision for the show going forward.
As for Chris Harrison, his statement suggests he’s exiting with excitement to start a new chapter.
The Rachel Kirkconnell scandal stirred up tough conversations
In her response, Rachel Lindsay also made mention of the viral interview between her and Chris, saying that the previously listed reasons as well as the interview on Extra “maybe led to him not coming back.”
Interestingly, the franchise that has been churning out season after season, had yet to introduce a Black Bachelor until 2021. All it took was one Black Bachelor to peel back the layers of this series and encourage fans and members of the show to examine the ways in which there is a serious need for more genuine inclusivity and diversity surrounding the series.
Fans found it understandably problematic when Chris Harrison appeared to double down in defense of photos that surfaced of contestant Rachel Kirkconnell at an antebellum themed ball, a theme with deep connections to slavery.
With Rachel Kirkconnell having been competing for the love of a Black man on television, fans felt she needed to answer for partaking in events with underlying racist tones.
Rachel Kirkconnell did eventually speak out on various occasions and explained that ignorance is no excuse for her actions. While, Matt James did briefly break up with her because of what he learned about her past, the two eventually reunited and are dating again.
Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison move on from the franchise
In response to Harrison’s exit, Rachel concluded that, “Well it’s been 19 years and, if you do watch the show, we saw less and less of Chris. 19 years of the show is a big accomplishment. Maybe that’s the case. We don’t know. Maybe they were ready to move on.”
After their highly discussed interview together, both Rachel and Chris are walking away from the franchise. Rachel ended her contract and now is in partnership with the beauty brand, True Botanicals.
Plenty of new chapters appear to be beginning for Rachel Lindsay, Chris Harrison, and The Bachelor franchise as a whole, as the show ventures on without their signature host.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC