Chris Harrison’s exit as host, after nearly 20 years in the role, sent shockwaves through Bachelor Nation. Fans have been divided somewhat on whether it was an essential decision following Harrison’s controversial interview with Rachel Lindsay or too harsh of a fallout. Now, the contestant with the most ever appearances on Bachelor Nation is advocating that Harrison should not be fired from the franchise.
Chris Bukowski competed on almost every iteration of Bachelor Nation multiple times: The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise. So by now, he is very familiar with ex-host Chris Harrison. The franchise alum was frank in his appraisal of the situation, telling Us Weekly that the move is “an easy way out.” He said:
I disagree with him being fired. I think if you want to hold someone accountable, you don’t give them the easy way out by firing them. Chris is the face of the franchise.
It seems Chris Bukowski is encouraging ex-host Chris Harrison and ABC to learn this lesson a different way. Instead of outright firing the longtime host, he wants Harrison to stand in front of future contestants and millions of fans and show growth when it comes to talking about sensitive issues such as race. Following his conversation with Rachel Lindsay, Harrison admitted that he made a mistake and that his comments were “unacceptable,” yet he did still make an appearance on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune. With Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe taking over as new hosts for The Bachelorette, it remains uncertain whether Harrison will get the opportunity to tackle these concerns in the show.
The bigger issue than just one man’s faux pas, though, is a work culture and society that perpetuates Harrison’s line of argument as well, according to Chris Bukowski. The Bachelor in Paradise winner said:
The problem on that show is not Chris Harrison. It’s everyone. It’s production, it’s the cast, it’s the people that watch the show. So, if you’re going to put blame on one person and you’re going to point fingers at one person … I disagree with it completely.
Chris Bukowski makes some good points here. Bachelor Nation has lacked diversity and conversations surrounding race for years. Unfortunately, It is an endemic problem in most competitive reality shows. But the question remains if Chris Harrison’s exit is a way to usher in the necessary change.
Others from Bachelor Nation have chimed in on the issue, as well. Emmanuel Acho, who took over for Chris Harrison during this last season of The Bachelor, said he doesn’t “believe in cancel culture” and questioned what would be truly best for the franchise. A former Bachelor producer, who went on to satirize reality show productions like The Bachelor in UnReal, firmly believes Harrison’s exit is completely justified and a long time coming for the franchise.
Hosting duties on Bachelor Nation are notoriously short and sweet, so the buzz surrounding Chris Harrison’s sudden exit might seem overblown to some. But to others, he is the most recognizable face of the franchise. If Harrison hadn’t reportedly lawyered up recently, one might have been forgiven for thinking his time on the show was coming to an end.