BACHELORETTE alum Rachel Lindsay claimed she "didn't expect" host Chris Harrison to leave the franchise after he said "racist" remarks in their interview.
The long-time standing host was ousted after he defended former contestant Rachael Kirkconnell going to an Antebellum party in her college years.
On Tuesday, Chris surprised fans when he revealed that he was leaving his role as host of Bachelor Nation after 19 years.
Along with a picture of him during a reunion show, he wrote: "I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter.
"I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together.
"While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime."
However, it wasn't just fans who were left shocked by his exit, but former Bachelorette Rachel also expressed her surprise.
The first Black female lead of the show told Extra on Tuesday: "I wasn't expecting for it to happen, not after the announcement.
"I think several past contestants coming forward and saying they didn't want him to be part of Paradise. I think Katie Thurston, her very last tweet before she went to film her season was that Chris needed to step away," the podcast host continued.
"I think that, coupled with the interview that happened on this very stage, maybe led to him not coming back.
"Well, it's been 19 years and if you do watch the show we saw less and less of Chris. 19 years is a big accomplishment. Maybe that's the case. We don't know. Maybe they were ready to move on," Rachel said.
Deadline was the first to report on Tuesday that Chris was stepping away from the franchise after some very tumultuous last months.
A production insider told The Sun that ABC execs were “blindsided” with news breaking about the TV personality’s departure.
The source claimed that it “wasn’t something that was supposed to come out until later this season,” but somehow, word leaked.
“There was a mutual plan to announce it towards the finale and keep it quiet until then.
“But tension has been building between Chris and the show all year. The negotiations have not been friendly.
“Chris asked for a lot and was not backing down at all to get it,” the informant explained.
The source admitted that ABC and Chris, 49, most likely landed on a number “around $20 MILLION.”
While his salary has never been officially confirmed, it’s been reported he earned around $8 MILLION per season of the ABC franchise.
The large lump sum will nearly DOUBLE Chris' net worth, which is reported to be around $25 million.
Reps for Chris and ABC did not respond to The Sun's request for comment.
The series has had a dark cloud over it since last year during season 25, led by Bachelor Matt James.
It all kicked off after Georgia contestant Rachael Kirkconnell was discovered to have attended an Antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018 which Chris later defended.
Chris defended the contestant while being interviewed by Rachel on Extra, stating: "We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I've seen some stuff online… again, this 'judge, jury, executioner' thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart."
Following backlash, Chris stepped down from the show and publicly apologized to Rachel.
While talking to GMA's Michael Strahan, Chris said: "I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I can't believe I didn't speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for.
"I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community."
He claimed that he apologized to Rachel and did so once more on the interview, stating: "To anyone who is throwing hate at Lindsay, please stop. It is unacceptable."
Since the initial interview, Rachel was forced to deactivate her Instagram account after some Bachelor fans claimed she ruined the franchise.
Rachel has since returned to Instagram, while she also revealed she had accepted the hosts's apology.
The former star said she had not spoken directly with Chris since the GMA interview aired, but confirmed that she did watch it.
She also told TMZ that they spoke about three weeks ago when the scandal first happened, adding that he apologized directly to her at the time.
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