Chris Harrison reportedly demanded a $25 million payout to leave The Bachelor franchise — otherwise he’d be revealing 19 years behind-the-scenes secrets in a slew of lawsuits against the producers and executives.
Sources familiar with the negotiations over Harrison’s abrupt departure on Tuesday said ABC Studios had hoped the 49-year-old would leave “quickly and quietly” amid criticism of comments he made when he defended a contestant who appeared in photos. appeared at a plantation-themed fraternity party.
Instead, Harrison fought back.
‘He’s been dirty for almost 20 years,’ an insider told me Page six. “Instead of handing them a rose, he was absolutely ready to file a lawsuit detailing all the details behind the scenes.
“He knows a lot about inappropriate behavior on set: fights between contestants, misbehavior, inclusive” [the] use of illegal substances abroad and complaints from producers that are allegedly swept under the carpet by ABC executives.’
Chris Harrison officially left The Bachelor franchise on Tuesday, after serving as host for 19 years. His departure came after he faced fierce resistance for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell (right) after photos of her surfaced at an Old South fraternity themed 2018
“He was ready to tell the truth about how things really work there, and he had enough evidence to back him up,” the source continued.
Chris Harrison’s whole life was The Bachelor and he wouldn’t let go.
“He is still very sad to leave, and very tough and very heated negotiations have been going on for weeks.”
Harrison is now walking away from the franchise he’s hosted for 19 years with an eight-figure payout average, Deadline first reported on Tuesday, although sources familiar with the negotiations said it isn’t quite as high as the $25 million he demanded.
The payout came with a promise to “shut up,” per Deadline.
Harrison represented prominent Los Angeles attorney Bryan Freedman, who had previously represented the wife of The Bachelor creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss in their divorce when she claimed he was abusive.
Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, a former Miss America, later withdrew her complaint and received a $10 million settlement.
“Chris Harrison hired Bryan Freedman to represent Mike Fleiss’ wife, which immediately created an aggressive playing field,” a second source told Page Six. “It was a bunch of emotionally charged men in a room who weren’t happy with each other at all.”
Harrison’s departure reportedly followed weeks of intense negotiations with ABC Entertainment executives as he demanded a $25 million payout or else he would reveal secrets behind the scenes.
Warner Media and ABC Entertainment confirmed Harrison’s departure in a statement after Deadline broke the news.
“Chris Harrison is stepping down as host of The Bachelor franchise,” the producers said in a statement to Fox News.
Harrison had hired prominent LA attorney Bryan Freedman (pictured) to represent him at the negotiations
“We are grateful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”
Harrison — who has hosted The Bachelor and its spin-offs, The Bachelorette and The Bachelor in Paradise since 2002 — also wrote a goodbye message on his Instagram page.
“I’ve had a really incredible run hosting The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all the memories we made together.”
“As my two-decade journey draws to a close, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”
Former bachelor Colton Underwood also shared his support for Harrison, posting a tribute to Harrison on his Instagram story and calling him a “Grade A human being.”
“Thank you for being a friend, a stand-up guy and a great host,” Underwood wrote. “Can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next.”
Former bachelor Colton Underwood, right, posted a tribute to longtime host Chris Harrison, left, on Tuesday as he leaves the franchise after nearly 20 years
Underwood’s post called Harrison a ‘Grade A human being’, a ‘stand up guy and a hell of a host’
Harrison also wrote a farewell message thanking the ‘Bachelor Nation’ for 20 years of memories
Harrison’s departure comes about five months after he came under fire for a year Additional interview in which he appeared to defend a contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, over 2018 photos that showed her participating in an Old South plantation-themed fraternity formal.
He said in the February interview, “We all need a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” towards Kirkconnell amid the turbulent times of the “awake police” and cancellation culture.
“I’ve seen some things online – this judge, jury, executioner thing, where people are tearing up this girl’s life and diving into it, like her parents’ voting behavior,” he said. “It’s incredibly alarming to see this.”
“I haven’t heard Rachael talk about this yet,” Harrison continued. “And until I actually hear this woman speak a chance, who am I to say this.”
Those comments sparked comments online, and Harrison later took to Instagram to clarify his comments.
“While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intention was simply to ask for mercy in offering an opportunity to speak on her behalf,” he wrote. “What I realize I’ve done is harm by speaking inappropriately in a way that perpetuates racism, and I’m deeply sorry for that.”
By Valentine’s Day, Harrison announced that during the show’s first season, he would be “going sideways” with a black bachelor.
Harrison apologized for his comments in the interview with GMA host Michael Strahan in early March, when he admitted he was “insensitive” and “made a mistake” when he vowed to return to the reality show and “be part of the change.”
But his apology was rejected by Strahan, who suggested his remorse was only “superficial” and a ploy by his fellow ABC colleague to get his $8 million-a-year job back.
Harrison apologized in an interview with GMA presenter Michael Strahan in March, saying he was “insensitive” and “made a mistake” (above)
Former bachelors Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are now co-hosts of the current Bachelorette season, and last week executives announced a rotating roster of hosts for the franchise’s summer show, Bachelor in Paradise.
Kirkconnell, meanwhile, received the final rose from Bachelor Matt James on the March 15 season finale, but in the “After the Rose” special that night, James said he cut things off.
James was reportedly “reluctant to confirm the relationship publicly and outright” because it was “still fresh and they are still having trouble working through,” an unnamed source told Page Six.
“Rachael has already been scrutinized for her past, and now all eyes are on Matt,” the source said. “So he feels the pressure to lead by example for other black men.”
The couple was recently seen together in Miami and the Hamptons.
Bachelor Matt James finally chose Kirkconnell in the season finale