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Chris Harrison Plans Return to ‘The Bachelor’ After Stepping Away Last Month

Chris Harrison is owning up to his controversial comments from last month’s Rachel Lindsay interview. The Bachelor host, who’s come under fire in recent weeks for defensive remarks he made to the franchise’s single Black Bachelorette, appeared on Good Morning America to discuss his now infamous conversation with Lindsay. In an interview this morning with GMA, Harrison admitted that he’s an “imperfect man” who “made a mistake” in jumping to defend contestant Rachael Kirkconnell and her racist social media posts from the past few years.

“I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for,” he told GMA host Michael Strahan. “I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it.”

While Harrison has been a Bachelor staple for decades, the longtime host stepped away from his duties last month after asking for people to give Kirkconnell “grace” and suggesting she was a victim of “cancel culture.” During his interview with Lindsay, Harrison also defended Kirkconnell’s photos of herself attending an Old South antebellum party. When the former Bachelorette insisted it “wasn’t a good look” to recreate and celebrate that period in time, Harrison replied, “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”

Now, he admits that his response wasn’t acceptable, and the photos would have been just as harmful three years ago as they are today. “Antebellum parties are not OK,” he told Strahan. “Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable.”

Since the interview aired, Harrison has apologized to Lindsay — who said Harrison “talked over” her in the interview and “never gave me room to talk” — but the Bachelorette star has been the target of online bullying and even deactivated her Instagram as a result. “”I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay,” Harrison reflected. “I can’t believe I didn’t speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for. I didn’t say it then and I want to say it now: those parties are not OK, past, present, future.

“And I didn’t speak from my heart. And that is to say that I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community,” he said, urging, “To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It’s unacceptable.”

Harrison says he’s been educating himself on the issue of race since the interview, seeking out “leading scholars, teachers, [and] faith leaders,” including Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. “I’ve also been working closely with a race educator and strategist. I thank them all,” he said.

Despite speculation he could be leaving the franchise for good, Harrison says he hopes to return to the Bachelor shows, which also include Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. “I plan to be back and I want to be back,” he said. “And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress.”

Watch Harrison’s full interview with Strahan on the GMA website.

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Chris Harrison Speaks Out After Stepping Down From ‘The Bachelor’

Chris Harrison spoke out following his controversial Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay, which led to his decision to step away from the Bachelor franchise.

“It was a mistake,” Harrison, 49, said in a sneak peek of his Good Morning America interview, which will air on Thursday, March 4. “I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake. And I own that.”

The controversy began with Lindsay, 35, interviewing Harrison for Extra on February 9 amid allegations of racism within the Bachelor franchise. The longtime host defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos resurfaced online of her attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal years earlier, calling for fans to have “grace” toward her.

Chris Harrison on ‘The Bachelor’ ABC/Craig Sjodin

He subsequently apologized for his comments and, days later, announced that he would be “stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”

Kirkconnell, 24, also apologized for her past behavior. She later asked fans to stop defending her amid the controversy. The Georgia native made the final three on Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor and is expected to speak about the scandal with Emmanuel Acho, who is stepping in as the host of the After the Final Rose special, when it airs on Monday, March 15.

On February 26, the former Bachelorette deactivated her Instagram account. Her “Higher Learning” podcast co-host Van Lathan confirmed the news via Instagram the same day.

c Reveals Why She Inactivated Her Instagram Extra Interview Chris Harrison
Chris Harrison and Chris Harrison Extra

“My cohost on ‘Higher Learning,’ Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today,” he said. “She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from Bachelor fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say.”

Lathan said in the clip that cyberbullies should “get a f–king life,” adding that their anger is misdirected. “Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these present 2021 times,” he said. “She’s not responsible for that. It’s not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn’t understand what the f–k triggers people in today’s world.”

While Harrison wasn’t quick to speak out in defense of Lindsay, many Bachelor Nation members were. Even Kirkconnell, whom the Texas native called out over past racially insensitive behavior, applauded her and called on social media users to back down.

“You have the opportunity to make a positive difference, to use your energy towards change, and to come together and realize what’s right in a time like this,” the season 25 Bachelor competitor wrote in a statement on Instagram on Saturday, February 27. “If you are choosing to rather spread hate, to send cruel, vicious messages, to be mad about people being hurt by racism…do better. Be better.”

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Was Heather Martin Edited Out of ‘The Bachelor: The Women Tell All?’

Heather Martin John Salangsang/Shutterstock

Spotted on stage at The Bachelor: The Women Tell All Heather Martin? After briefly appearing on Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, fans are convinced that the 25-year-old was edited out of the special on Monday, March 1.

Social media users took to Twitter to share wide shots of the group on the stage that seemingly show Heather sitting next to Kit Keenan.

“Am i the only one who sees heather?? #TheBachelor,” one person tweeted alongside a pic of what appears to be Heather’s long blonde hair one hour and 20 minutes into the special.

Another fan posted a second angle that appeared to include Heather, writing, “Did ABC really think they could sneak Heather in without us noticing? #Bachelor.”

While Instagram users flooded Heather’s most recent post with questions about The Women Tell All, she only replied to fans who asked about other topics.

“The back of your head looks great on WTA! So bummed we didn’t get to see you tonight,” one fan wrote.

A second viewer commented, “Heather, what the heck happened? Why did they cut you out of the WTA and not discuss how poorly the women treated you?!?”

“Why are you cut out of the women tell all? I literally just saw a shot that showed your back but they aren’t showing you!” another person wrote.

Heather, who originally competed on Colton Underwood’s season 23 of The Bachelor in 2019, attempted to join the cast of Matt’s season during the February 8 episode. After quarantining at Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania, the former football player opted not to let Heather, who is close with his friend Hannah Brown, join because it wouldn’t be fair to the other women.

Was Heather Martin Edited Out of The Bachelor The Women Tell All Cast
Serena P., Anna, MJ, Mari, Pieper, Chelsea, Victoria, and Serena C. on ‘The Bachelor: Women Tell All.’ ABC/Craig Sjodin) SERENA P., ANNA,

I had no relationship with her,” Matt told Us of Heather on Us’ “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast last month. “But she does have a relationship with one of my good friends Hannah Brown. I was just as shocked to see her as everyone else was when she arrives.”

While the other contestants made it clear that they weren’t happy with Heather for attempting to crash the journey, she revealed after the episode aired that she had no regrets.

“Life is a little crazy and it sometimes takes you down paths you could have never dreamt up or imagined. This part of my life is definitely one of those times and all I know is that if I had listened to fear, I would have never gotten to experience something that I am truly grateful for,” Heather began after the February 15 episode aired via Instagram. “Fear has held me back from so many things in life. It has stopped me from going after what I want and the things I felt called to … BUT that is something I will no longer let control me. I am actively working on facing my fears each day and not letting the worry about what other people may think of me stop me from anything.”

She concluded: “by taking chances and facing my fears head on, I will be able to live a life without regret, knowing I fully embraced life and everything it had to offer without letting anything pass me by. I may get my heart broken or face some disappointments along the way, but hey that’s life and I will gladly take those disappointments knowing that I am not letting fear run my life. I am living in faith not in fear and learning that when something scares me, instead of running away I am going to … ✨DO IT AFRAID✨.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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Matt James’ The Bachelor: Women Tell All Was So Boring

Once again, the women have told all—or at least they have told some.  

There was definitely something strange about tonight’s reunion episode of The Bachelor, given that the franchise has been through some serious turmoil since its taping on Feb. 4, and none of that could be addressed on screen just yet. Chris Harrison was still the host since this was filmed before he stepped aside. There was no discussion of racism at any point. 

However, the show did manage to find some things to talk about. 

The first half hour was spent rehashing the bullying that plagued most of the season, with somewhat surprising results. MJ got the chance to defend herself after the way she treated Jessenia, and the other women all expressed how unhappy they were with Katie, accusing her of telling on them to Matt James just to get ahead in her relationship. Anna did apologize profusely to Brittany for spreading rumors about her and Victoria apologized to Katie for some things she had said about her. 

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The Bachelor Reveals New Host for ATFR Special

In recent weeks, the dating series has been embroiled in controversy. On Monday, Feb. 22, Matt addressed both Rachael and Chris’ scandals head-on.

“The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life,” he began his Instagram post, “and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison.”

“The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real-time,” he pointed out, “and it has been devastating and heartbreaking, to put it bluntly.”

“Chris’ failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch,” Matt continued, “As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.”

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Emmanuel Acho tapped to replace Chris Harrison on ‘The Bachelor’

Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho has been tapped to host “The Bachelor: After The Final Rose” special after Chris Harrison stepped down amid a controversy over excusing alleged racism.

The show announced the change on its Instagram account Saturday night — and Acho, 30, could hardly contain his excitement.

“IT’S OFFICIAL: I’ve accepted the Rose & am honored to be hosting the @bachelorabc After the Final Rose this year,” the Dallas-born bruiser wrote on Twitter. “It’s been a pivotal season & this episode will be one of the most storied shows in its history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. See y’all then!”

The “After the Final Rose” special, is scheduled to air March 15 after the season 25 finale.

Acho is expected to sit down with Matt James, the first Black Bachelor in the show’s history, and his three frontrunners: Rachael Kirkconnell, Michelle Young and Bri Springs.

Acho was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, had a brief stint on the New York Giants practice squad the next year. He ended his NFL career in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Emmanuel Acho is set replace former host Chris Harrison on "The Bachelor After The Final Rose" special.
Emmanuel Acho is set replace former host Chris Harrison on “The Bachelor: After The Final Rose” special.
AP; Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Now a Fox Sports analyst, Acho hosts a web series called “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Matthew McConaughey, Chip and Joanna Gaines and Rachel Lindsay — the first black “Bachelorette” in 2017 — have all appeared on the show.

The move comes after Harrison defended Kirkconnell amid accusations she allegedly “liked racially insensitive posts on social media and was photographed at a plantation-themed party while in college in Georgia.

It was rumored that ABC hosts Michael Strahan or Robin Roberts would be replacing Harrison. He may be unfamiliar to Bachelor Nation, but he was Lindsay’s preferred pick.

“We think Emmanuel Acho would be fantastic,” she told People Magazine this week. “[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.”

Some of Bachelor Nation have not cheered the change. Lindsay deleted her Instagram account on Saturday amid the criticism.

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Matt James Breaks Silence on Bachelor Nation’s “Heartbreaking” Reality

The Bachelor contestant, who is still in the running to win over Matt’s heart, raised eyebrows after photos from her college days resurfaced on Reddit. In the images, which E! News hasn’t verified, Rachael was seen attending a fraternity formal in 2018, which the Reddit user described as an “Antebellum plantation themed ball.”

She would later apologize in a statement posted on social media. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them,” Rachael wrote on Feb. 11. “My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

Ultimately, members of Bachelor Nation have spoken out and sparked a conversation about race and diversity in the franchise. In fact, Bachelor contestants from Matt’s own season came together to release a statement. 

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What It’s Like to Speak Out as a Black Person in Bachelor Nation

While she now has close to two million followers after her lauded time as the Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams noticed the undeniable disparity between the follower count for white and BIPOC’s contestants when she was competing for Colton Underwood‘s heart in 2019.

Despite making it to the final three, “I was easily one of the girls with the least amount of followings compared to the girls that were in week five or six,” Adams told E! News in a recent interview. “I had much more airtime, my family was involved, I had little one-on-ones and dates, we actually had a connection and other girls had quote-unquote followers. I definitely experienced that.”

And it’s not just the female contestants of color who’ve seen that divide.

Just look at Adams’ final four men: While white finalists Zach Clark, Ben Smith and Brendan Morais all have over 300,000 followers, Ivan Hall, who is Black, has 162,000.

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Bachelor Matt Eliminates Heather Martin, Brings Rachael to Final Four

Major cuts! Matt James made difficult decisions about Heather Martin and six of his contestants during the Monday, February 15, episode of The Bachelor.

Matt first dealt with Heather’s arrival. He was conflicted because he trusted Hannah Brown’s endorsement of her pal but he felt it was too late in the competition for them to make a meaningful connection. Even though she apologized for crashing the season, the women ganged up on Heather, causing her to cry as Matt weighed his options. Heather insisted she was serious about Matt and was willing to get engaged within a couple of weeks.

After a chat with Chris Harrison, who still appeared periodically throughout the episode despite his recent decision to temporarily step aside as host, Matt told Heather he could not let her join the season due to his strong feelings for the women already there. He believed that in another situation they could have worked out but the timing was off, so she left in her minivan. Matt then apologized to the ladies for the interruption and sent home Chelsea and Serena C. during the rose ceremony.

Matt James, Heather Martin, and Rachael Kirkconnell ABC; Shutterstock; Courtesy of Rachael Kirkconnell/Instagram

Matt moved on to his one-on-one tantric yoga date with Serena P. He wondered if they were a match after having differing opinions about the activity, and he hoped to get beyond the friend zone with her. Matt appreciated that Serena was authentic, so he gave her a rose.

During the group date, Abigail questioned Matt about whether he could see a future with her. He admitted he was initially confident in their connection, so he focused on other relationships to the point that his feelings for Abigail could not catch up. He didn’t want to lead her on, so he eliminated her. Matt then gave the group date rose to Rachael, who he whisked away for a private concert.

Kit, meanwhile, told Matt during the group date that her timeline for marriage and kids would be delayed since she had career goals to accomplish first, and he had no problem with that. She later went to his room to confess she had doubts about getting engaged to him, so she needed to leave. Although she told Matt she was unwavering in her decision, she thought she could be making a mistake.

Matt then went on a one-on-one date with Jessenia. She said she was falling in love with him, but he felt they were not compatible, so he sent her home.

Matt had one more elimination to make before hometown dates, sending home Pieper during the rose ceremony. She lamented that the process was a waste of time as she exited. Matt selected Bri, Michelle, Rachael and Serena P. as his final four for hometown dates.

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

Listen to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants

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‘Bachelor’ alum who came back for Matt James

She’s a blast from the past.

“Bachelor” fans were surprised to see former franchise contestant Heather Martin show up to shoot her shot with current lead Matt James.

The 25-year-old — who originally appeared on Colton Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor” — made waves on last week’s episode when she appeared out of nowhere asking to join this season. The episode cut off just as she approached James.

On Season 23 of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2019, Martin made headlines for having never been kissed. On the show, she got her first peck from Underwood.

Though they had never met, James recognized Martin right away.

If this sounds convoluted, that’s because it is: While competing for Underwood’s heart, Martin befriended fellow contestant Hannah Brown, who later went on to be “The Bachelorette.” Though Brown did not end up with contestant Tyler Cameron, she remained close friends with him. Cameron is best friends with James, which is how he ended up as this season’s lead. James and Brown are also very close.

Martin claimed to host Chris Harrison that it was Brown who sparked the idea for her to come on “The Bachelor” to meet James before he gets engaged, because Brown thought the two would make a good couple.

Like lots of former “Bachelor” contestants, Martin works as an influencer (she has 256,000 Instagram followers). She’s based out of Carlsbad, California, a seaside town at the southern end of the state.

In September of last year, she starred in a music video called “Song for a Girl” by country artist Lawson Bates.

Martin has a strong Christian faith, and she regularly posts Bible verses on her Instagram stories. Her Instagram bio calls out Mark 10:45, which reads, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

She has two lookalike sisters, Colie and Shannon. The trio is starting a merchandise line together, called Tilted Three, soon. They’ve teased the project on Instagram.

She’s also known for her cheery disposition.

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