The US version of The Bachelor is engulfed in a major scandal, with the long-time host of the show Chris Harrison temporarily stepping aside from the franchise over accusations of racism.

To catch you up on everything that’s happened so far, Harrison recently came under fire after defending old social media posts by Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant on the current season.

In the images, from her college days in 2018, she appeared to be attending a fraternity event at what was described as an “antebellum plantation themed ball.”

Last week, Chris Harrison spoke with Rachel Lindsay, the first black Bachelorette, on Extra, and gave his thoughts on the controversy.

The discussion was quite lengthy, and Lindsay expressed disappointment in the idea of a party celebrating “old South” of slavery, but Harrison defended her, saying at one point:

“The woke police is out there. And this poor girl Rachael, who has just been thrown to the lions, I don’t know how you are equipped when you have never done this before, to be woke enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this.”

After his Extra appearance, many stars of the franchise, including the current women of the 25th season, spoke up against Harrison and his “defense of racism.”

All this leads us to today, when the long-time host announced that he would be taking time off from the show. In an Instagram post, he wrote:

“Hello everyone, I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have cause [sic], and I am deeply remorseful. My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke.”

“I set standards for myself, and have not met them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same. By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uniformed [sic] I was. I was so wrong.”

He went on to apologise, and to say that he will be “stepping aside for a period of time” and will not be hosting the After The Final Rose special for the current season.

It remains to be seen how long his break will be, but you can see his post below:

Rachael Kirkconell, the contestant at the centre of the controversy, has since apologised herself.

Image: Getty Images / Randy Holmes