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Chris Harrison Is Replaced as Host of ‘The Bachelorette’

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Chris Harrison will not host the next season of “The Bachelorette” for the first time in the history of the franchise, which began as a guilty pleasure when it debuted in 2002 but has in recent years been criticized for its lack of diversity and insensitive handling of race.

Mr. Harrison, 49, will be replaced by Tayshia Adams, who will become the first woman of color to host a season of the show, and Kaitlyn Bristowe. Both are former “Bachelorette” leads.

In a statement, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said they supported Mr. Harrison “in the work that he is committed to doing,” and pledged to continue to try achieve “greater equity and inclusion” within the franchise.

“We are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said, using an acronym meaning Black, Indigenous and people of color. “These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”

Mr. Harrison announced last month that he was “stepping aside” from the current season of “The Bachelor” after acknowledging making remarks that dismissed the racist behavior of a contestant.

The decision to feature two women as hosts also follows years of criticism of the show for its portrayal of women as being fixated on marriage or as petty and unstable. The show was also pressured for years by many of its fans, members of “Bachelor Nation,” to include nonwhite leads and more nonwhite contestants.

Last month, ABC said that Emmanuel Acho, a former N.F.L. player and the author of the book “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” would host an hourlong post-finale special of “The Bachelor” on March 15.

The announcement that Mr. Harrison would not host “The Bachelorette” was the latest development in a tumultuous season, which had intended to break ground by featuring the first Black male lead, Matt James, in “Bachelor” history.

Before Mr. James, there had been two Black leads on “The Bachelorette”: Rachel L. Lindsay, who was announced as the lead in 2017, and Ms. Adams, whose father is African-American and whose mother is Mexican, and who was a recent midseason replacement.

Mr. James’s season was praised for its diverse cast, but many viewers became dismayed by the producers’ decision to focus on fights between the women instead of the relationships building between the contestants and Mr. James.

That disillusionment grew into outrage as offensive social media posts and photos of one of the contestants, Rachael Kirkconnell, emerged.

In one post, Ms. Kirkconnell had liked a photo with a Confederate flag. Another photo on social media showed her attending an “Old South” plantation-themed ball in 2018.

Last month, Mr. Harrison defended Ms. Kirkconnell, who is one of the two finalists on the show, when Ms. Lindsay asked him about the ball during an interview on “Extra.” Mr. Harrison said that “50 million people did that in 2018.”

“Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?” Mr. Harrison asked during the interview, suggesting that such parties might have been acceptable in 2018.

Ms. Lindsay replied: “It’s not a good look, ever, because she’s celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?”

Mr. Harrison, who frequently talked over Ms. Lindsay during the interview, accused the “woke police” of going after Ms. Kirkconnell and acting as “judge, jury, executioner.”

“I don’t know how you’re equipped, when you’ve never done this before, to be woke enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this,” he said.

Credit…Jc Olivera/Getty Images

Ms. Kirkconnell has apologized. Mr. Harrison also apologized on Instagram after the interview and said that, by excusing historical racism, he had defended it.

“I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable,” Mr. Harrison wrote on Instagram. “I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong. To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful.”

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