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Chris Harrison will not host 'The Bachelorette' this season after racial controversy

A statement says he will be replaced by former “Bachelorette” contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
FILE - This Oct. 28, 2012 file photo shows Chris Harrison at the Hamilton "Behind the Camera" Awards at the House of Blues West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Chris Harrison will not be returning to host Season 17 of "The Bachelorette," and will instead be replaced with two former contestants, ABC Entertainment and Warner Horizon said in a statement Friday. Harrison has been under fire for weeks for his handling of a swirling racial controversy on "The Bachelor."

USA TODAY and Deadline, citing statements from Warner Horizon and ABC, report former Bachelorette stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe "will support the new Bachelorette through next season.”

Speculation ramped up Friday when TMZ reported Harrison was not quarantining with the crew filming the upcoming season near Albuquerque.

Harrison came under fire after an interview on “Extra” when he was asked about racially insensitive past behavior from current “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.

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Past photos of her resurfaced in which she is dressed in costume as a Native American and at an antebellum plantation themed ball. Kirkconnell later issued an apology for what she calls her past “racist and offensive” actions.

In the interview, Harrison defended Kirkconnell against what he called the “woke police” on social media. “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," he said in the interview.

In a new statement posted last month, Harrison apologized for defending Kirkconnell's actions. “By excusing historical racism, I defended it,” he wrote. He said he was stepping aside from his TV show “for a period of time” and will not be hosting the ”After the Final Rose" special that will follow the season finale of “The Bachelor.”

Harrison has served as the only host of both shows since "The Bachelor" debuted in 2002.