Chris Harrison has retained an attorney, weeks after announcing that he was “stepping aside” temporarily as host of the Bachelor franchise.
As ‘Bachelor’ fans know, the longtime host announced his temporary leave following controversy surrounding comments he made during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. During the interview, Chris rushed to ‘Bachelor’ contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s defense when discussing incidences from the contestant’s past, including photos of her at an antebellum-themed fraternity party in 2018.
While it is unclear what, if any, legal actions are being explored, Page Six reports Chris has retained power attorney Bryan Freedman, who represented Gabrielle Union in her dispute with America’s Got Talent, in which the former judge complained of “racist actions that took place” on the set of ‘AGT.’
The attorney is referred to as the “go to lawyer in crisis litigation” on his site, having also represented Deborah Dugan, “the whistleblower who revealed the truth about the Recording Academy and the Grammys,” and Megan Kelly in her dispute with NBC News.
A friend of the ‘Bachelor’ host told Page Six that Chris’ decision to obtain a lawyer was a move he believed he had to make.
“Chris has had a spotless record for 20 years … He has always been the good company man, but after the way he’s been treated by producers and executives over the past couple of weeks, he’s run out of cheeks to turn,” the friend said. “Now he’s ready to tell the truth about how things really work over there – and he has plenty of evidence to back him up.”
Following his interview with Rachel, Chris went on to apologize for his comments before eventually telling viewers his plans to “step aside” temporarily.
Earlier this month, Emmanuel Acho was named the host of the After the Final Rose special for Matt James’ season of ‘The Bachelor,’ filling in for Chris during his temporary leave.
ABC Entertainment and Warner Horizon went on to announce March 12 that Chris will not be returning to host the next season of ‘The Bachelorette,’ and instead, former ‘Bachelorettes’ Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will share hosting duties in his place.
“As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within ‘The Bachelor’ franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks,” the statement from the companies read. “These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
While Chris will not resume his hosting gig in the coming season, recent ‘Bachelor’ Matt – the show’s first Black ‘Bachelor’ – hopes to see Chris make a comeback to the franchise in the future.
“Chris has outlined in his statement that he’s committed to putting in the work and he’s taking a step back, so I respect that,” Matt said Friday on The Ringer’s Bill Simmons podcast. “I hope that he does. I don’t think that anybody should be trying to cancel him. We should be calling him in to do that work that he outlined and wants to do. He’s taking a step back and committed to doing that. I look forward to seeing him doing that.”
(Photos: ABC; Instagram)