CHRIS Harrison’s girlfriend has blasted him for being “wrong” for “defending racism” after the Bachelor host revealed he is “stepping aside” from the show.
Lauren Zima, who has been dating the TV star since 2018, posted a statement detailing her thoughts on the situation, calling it “disappointing.”
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Lauren Zima spoke out after boyfriend Chris Harrison stepped aside
The Entertainment Tonight correspondent wrote on Instagram: “What Chris said was wrong and disappointing. Defending racism can never happen.
“Accountability comes first, what’s next is learning and growth.”
The 33-year-old’s sentiments came after Chris initially took leave from the show this week for “excusing” a former contestant’s past “racially insensitive” behavior.
Chris, 49, then announced on Saturday that he’d be stepping away from the ABC reality dating franchise, which he’s hosted since it began to air in 2002.
Lauren’s statement about her boyfriend of three years
Chris issued a statement saying he was “deeply remorseful”
Nor will he be part of the After the Rose special at the end of the current season of The Bachelor.
He said: “By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was wrong.”
The backlash came this week after an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Chris has hosted the ABC reality dating franchise since 2002
Chris with his girlfriend Lauren who is an Entertainment Tonight reporter
In it, he asked fans to give current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” after it came out that she once attended a plantation-themed college party in 2018 and allegedly “liked” racially insensitive social media posts.
He said: “I’ve seen some stuff online… again, this ‘judge, jury, executioner’ thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart.
“And diving into…her parents voting record…it’s unbelievably alarming to watch this!”
Rachel Lindsay interviewed Chris this week, leading to his remarks
But the interview led Rachel, who was the first black Bachelorette, to later say she wants to move on from the show once her contractual obligations are up.
Rachel, 35, said on her podcast Higher Learning: “I can’t take it anymore. I’m contractually bound in some ways. But when it’s up, I am too. I can’t do it anymore.”
Bachelor and Bachelorette members have come out too, saying they “stand united in denouncing racist behavior”.
They posted collective messages in response to the events that have unfolded this week.
Cast members from Bachelor Season 25 voiced their support
The men of Bachelorette Season 16 said they stand united
Like Chris, Rachael also issued an apology this week.
She said: “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them.
Rachael has apologized for past “ignorant” actions
“My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
The 24-year-old’s cousin, Anastasia, insisted Rachael is absolutely “not racist” during an exclusive interview with The Sun, though she called the photos “hard to defend.”
The intense backlash has taken a “huge toll” on the reality star as her parents are also in a “terrible mental place” due to harsh comments and even death threats she continues to receive.
The current season of ABC’s long-running show features Matt James, the first black “Bachelor.”