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Chris Harrison has announced his permanent departure as the host of the long-running US TV show The Bachelor. This comes after he defended a former contestant's racist actions.

A statement sent to NBC News, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said that Chris "is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey".

Harrison hosted the hit dating show for almost two decades. He resigned "temporarily" as the host in February after he defended a former contestant of not being racist based on her past actions. Photos emerged of a white contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal back in 2018.

During an interview with another former contestant, Rachel Lindsay, Harrison said that, because the photos were taken three years ago, it's unfair towards Kirkconnell to be judged for her past behaviour.

His comments caused a racism row to develop, with many calling for Harrison to be fired. The former host announced his departure a day after the new series aired in the United States. Two former contestants are now hosting the show.

Kirkconnell, the former contestant, went on the win that series of The Bachelor. Matt James was that season's bachelor and the first black lead. Kirkconnell and James are still together.

Check out the Good Morning America news article below of when the story first broke in February.

Image credit: Denver 7

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