‘The Bachelor’ Under Fire for Using Chris Harrison’s Voiceover in Finale, Despite His Promise to “Step Aside”

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The Bachelor has found itself under fire yet again for featuring Chris Harrison’s voiceover in Monday night’s Season 25 finale. Despite stepping away from the franchise last month in the midst of a brewing controversy, the longtime host’s voice could be heard introducing his temporary replacement, Emmanuel Acho, seemingly confirming that Harrison continued to tape the show after his public departure. That ain’t it, ABC.

According to E!, Harrison’s voiceover was heard at multiple points during The Bachelor Season 25 finale, including ahead of each commercial break as he teased what was to come. “Unpack Matt’s traumatic journey to find love and dive into all the controversy. Plus, a shocking reveal that changes everything,” said the host at the top of the episode. “It’s all happening tonight on the stunning season finale of The Bachelor.”

Later in the episode, Harrison previewed the post-finale After the Final Rose special, for which Emmanuel Acho, author of NYT bestseller Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, was tapped as host in the wake of the Harrison controversy. “Later tonight, Emmanuel Acho dives into the shocking conclusion to Matt’s journey,” teased his voiceover.

Harrison’s repeated inclusion in The Bachelor finale — and particularly his nod to Acho, who was announced as After the Final Rose host a full two weeks after Harrison said he would be “stepping aside for a period of time” — was met with outrage from fans. “So Chris Harrison stepped down, but The Bachelor is still paying him to do the voice overs?” asked TV host Aliya Jasmine. “Did they think we wouldn’t notice Chris Harrison’s voice?” asked another fan. “That’s a sign his ‘break’ is just ABC showboating,” ripped another.

Monday’s episode of The Bachelor capped a tumultuous season for the franchise and its longtime host, who announced on February 13 that he would be taking leave from the franchise after he seemingly defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s attendance at a 2018 Old South party. “The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison wrote on Instagram at the time. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”

“By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable,” he added at the time. “I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.”

Despite his voiceover appearing in the finale of Matt James’ season, Harrison will not be present (as far as we know) for the next season of The Bachelorette, as former contestants Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will step in as co-hosts. “Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of The Bachelorette. We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing,” said ABC in a statement released last week. “In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season.”

Decider has reached out to ABC for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

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