The accusations of bullying and racism have consumed this past season of The Bachelor. The issues only intensified when Chris Harrison stepped down from his longtime hosting duties, following his highly criticized interview in which he defended Rachael Kirkconnell. Many thought the controversy would end there. Now, though, things have taken a wild turn for ABC.
It would seem that Chris Harrison is lawyering up after his exit from The Bachelor. Page Six reported that Harrison has employed attorney Bryan Freedman, but there are no formal indications as of yet what legal course Harrison plans to pursue. Freedman was reportedly represented Gabrielle Union during her dispute over America’s Got Talent's "toxic work culture." An alleged friend of Harrison’s told Page Six:
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. 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.
Then there seem to be only two probable legal options for Chris Harrison to pursue with a lawyer. Either he is doing a Bachelor tell-all concerning the controversy, with receipts, or he might be planning to sue the network for some form of wrongful termination. Needless to say, both options wouldn't be ideal for ABC.
On the public side of things, it previously looked as though the network and Chris Harrison were still on a good rapport, even with his exit as The Bachelor host. Harrison apologized multiple times for his comments during the Rachel Lindsay interview. Moreover, in his statement announcing that he would be stepping aside, Harrison insinuated that the decision was a mutual one between himself, Warner Brothers and ABC.
Perhaps with the news that Emmanuel Acho will be taking over as host of The Bachelor and Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe for The Bachelorlette, it's possible the change might be more permanent than Chris Harrison anticipated. As mentioned by Page Six's source, another probable reason for Harrison's alleged sudden legal action is how other producers have spoken in the press about the controversy. The Bachelor executive producers put out a statement on March 1 condemning the harassment that Rachel Lindsay faced but did not mention Harrison. In addition, former Bachelor producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro recently took Harrison to task in her own blunt statement.
Despite the messiness of the initial issue, it seemed that all parties were attempting to wade out of the more controversial waters and into something more positive. CinemaBlend will keep you updated on the situation as more news arrives.