Chris Harrison leaves The Bachelor for good over racism row

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The long-time host of hit US dating show The Bachelor is stepping down permanently after widespread criticism of his comments on race.

Chris Harrison, who also fronted the show’s spin-offs, will not return to the ABC programmes, Deadline reported.

Controversy erupted in February after he excused past behaviour of a cast member who had been accused of racism, saying he was not the “woke police”.

“By excusing historical racism, I defended it,” he said at the time.

Harrison hosted The Bachelor for 25 seasons, from the show’s beginning in 2002. He also fronted The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette revolve around a single man or woman selecting a potential spouse from a pool of suitors.

The news of Harrison’s permanent exit came a day after season 17 of The Bachelorette began without him. Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are the show’s hosts instead.

In February, Harrison “stepped aside” and apologised for “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” during an interview with former Bachelorette