Rachel Lindsay Reacts To Chris Harrison's Exit From The Bachelor Franchise

Bachelor Nation has endured months of turmoil following widespread accusations of racism from within the long-running franchise, which culminated in host Chris Harrison stepping down just a few hours after Season 17 of the female-led sister series, "The Bachelorette," premiered. As Deadline noted, Harrison had been captain of the ship, not just on "The Bachelor," but all associated spin-off shows, since 2002. He's reportedly receiving an eight-figure severance check for his trouble, and a variety of guest hosts are being lined up to fill the gap in Harrison's initial absence.

The fan favorite host courted controversy earlier this year after defending Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant on Matt James' most recent season of "The Bachelor," whose racist past came to light as episodes began airing. Harrison asked for "compassion" and understanding, leading to a massive backlash from fans. Although the host later apologized, the damage was done, and in February 2021, he declared his intentions to step aside from fronting James' season. Now, former bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, an outspoken critic of both Harrison and Kirkconnell, is giving her two cents about his exit.

The former bachelorette made her position on Chris Harrison clear

According to People, during an appearance on "Extra" earlier this week, former bachelorette Rachel Lindsay admitted she wasn't expecting long-time host Chris Harrison to step down from his post. Acknowledging fans can only "speculate" why the decision was ultimately made, Lindsay suggested that "several past contestants coming forward and saying they didn't want him to be part of [Bachelor in] 'Paradise,'" probably contributed to it. Likewise, fellow bachelorette Katie Thurston tweeted "that Chris needed to step away." As far as Lindsay is concerned, the strength of those statements — combined with the infamous interview, which also took place on "Extra," when Harrison vociferously defended Kirkconnell — likely sealed his fate.

During the uncomfortable chat, the "Bachelor" host defended the contestant's honor while Lindsay patiently tried to explain why her behavior was so damaging to people and communities of color. Thurston, who competed on Matt James' season and is currently fronting "The Bachelorette," tweeted that she "will always be a Rachel Lindsay supporter." For fans who are going to miss Harrison's appearances on the show, Lindsay reasoned that there's been steadily less of him over the years, so maybe ABC was ready to say goodbye to the long-time host. An insider revealed to E! News that Harrison was "saddened" to be leaving "The Bachelor" franchise and had been in strict negotiations for weeks trying to keep his position until at least 2022, considering it his "identity."