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ABC reportedly pays 8-figure severance to get rid of Chris Harrison after 'Bachelor' host said former contestant should be offered grace in racism controversy

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Photo by Christopher Polk/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Chris Harrison, longtime host of "The Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" franchises, has been relieved of his hosting duties for good, according to a Tuesday report from Hollywood trade website Deadline.

The outlet noted that ABC and Warner Media reportedly gave Harrison a "mid-range eight-figure" payoff following his departure as well as a "promise to keep his mouth shut."

What's a brief history here?

Harrison has been at the center of a racism controversy after he reportedly asked "Bachelor" fans to give "grace" to a contestant who was reportedly seen in a photo that contained racist imagery.

In an early February interview, Harrison suggested that fans of the show ought to give former "Bachelor" winner Rachael Kirkconnell an opportunity to explain why she attended a 2018 fraternity event with an "Antebellum" theme. Kirkconnell, according to reports, was also previously accused of "liking" photos of the Confederate flag on social media. He also implored viewers to avoid acting as "judge, jury, and executioner."

In February, Harrison announced that he was stepping away from the show for an undetermined period of time.

Former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe were tapped as "The Bachelorette's" temporary hosts.

What are the details?

Early Tuesday morning, Deadline reported that Harrison received a "mid-range eight-figure payoff" following his departure.

"The confidential settlement with franchise producers and distributor Warner Horizon was finally reached after one more flurry of back and forth between the parties and 'Bachelor' broadcaster ABC on Monday night," Deadline's Dominic Patten wrote. "A motivational undercurrent, so to speak, throughout was Harrison lawyer Bryan Freedman pledging to unleash the Shiva of lawsuits exposing a swath of 'The Bachelor's' alleged dirty laundry unless his Gersh-repped client emerged feeling the financial love."

The outlet also reported that ABC and Warner Media announced that they removed Harrison to improve "BIPOC representation."

"We are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks," a statement for Warner and ABC stated. "These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world."

Harrison has issued several apologies for his remarks, and said that the show's season ought not be "marred or overshadowed" by "mistakes" or "diminished" by "actions."

He also said, "I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview and I didn't speak from my heart. That is to say I stand against all forms of racism and I am deeply sorry. ... I'm sorry to the black community."

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