Bachelor Nation has reached a turning point and host of The Bachelor Chris Harrison is at the center of it all. When Chris Harrison announced he was leaving as host, the fandom was deeply divided. Some are in favor of the franchise moving in a different direction, but others see Chris Harrison as an integral part of the show. The latter group is making efforts to return the long-time host to his former position as the face of the franchise.
Chris Harrison’s trouble started during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay when he defended current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s history of racist behavior. Fans were outraged over his ignorant comments and quickly called for his removal. These fans started a petition to get Chris Harrison fired, and he eventually stepped down from his role in the franchise. But not all fans are happy with the direction the show is going.
Some of these fans created a “Keep Chris Harrison” petition on Change.org. The fan who started the petition says about Chris Harrison, “He apologized and I believe it was sincere.” They also claim they will not watch the show if there is a new host. The petition set a goal of 15,000 signatures and after two weeks there are over 13,000. The founder called on signees to share the petition on social media because “(Chris Harrison) made a mistake and apologized, we don’t need to dwell on it.”
Fans who believe Chris Harrison did nothing wrong were quick to sign and comment on their reasons for doing so. One said they signed the petition because “America is about FREEDOM,” while others went into more detail and agreed that Rachael’s actions were racist, but Chris Harrison wasn’t wrong in defending her the way he did. Some feel that Rachel Lindsay was acting as an instigator and that Chris Harrison is “getting educated and should be allowed to keep his job.”
But there are still many Bachelor Nation fans who want Chris Harrison to step down from the show permanently. They slammed the petition on Reddit, saying “This is gross. I hope it goes no where[sic].” When considering the “Save Chris” petition, one commented “save him from what? His millions of dollars? Let the man retire!” They represent a large part of the fan base that are eager to see change in the franchise. For them, Bachelor Nation is long overdue for a change of pace.
Though the petition to keep Chris Harrison has garnered significant support, ABC seems to be following the lead of fans calling for change. The network is actively seeking a new host for The Bachelor and has considered cutting Chris Harrison from remaining episodes. Nothing is likely to come from the “Save Chris” petition, but that corner of the fandom still wants to make their voices heard. They may claim they’ll stop watching the franchise, but the network probably hopes these claims are just empty threats.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8pm EST on ABC.