Chris Harrison would have demanded a $ 25 million payment to leave The Bachelor franchise, otherwise he would have aired 19 years of behind-the-scenes secrets in a string of lawsuits against its producers and executives.
Sources familiar with the talks surrounding Harrison’s abrupt exit on Tuesday said ABC Studios had hoped the 49-year-old would walk away “quickly and quietly” amid negative reactions to comments he made defending a competitor who appeared in photos. at a plantation-themed frat party.
Instead, Harrison reacted.
“It has nearly 20 years of filth,” said one insider Page six. ‘Instead of handing them a roster, he was absolutely ready to hand them a cause that described all the details behind the scenes.
“He knows a lot about inappropriate behavior on set: fights between competitors, including bad behavior [the] use of illegal substances overseas and complaints from manufacturers that they would be ignored by ABC executives. ‘
Chris Harrison officially left The Bachelor franchise on Tuesday, after serving as a guest for 19 years. Her departure came after facing intense backlash for defending competitor Rachael Kirkconnell (right) after her photos surfaced at a formal 2018 Old South plantation-themed fraternity.
“He was ready to tell the truth about how things really work down there and had a lot of evidence to back it up,” the source continued.
‘Chris Harrison’s entire life was The Bachelor and he didn’t want to let go.
“He is still very sad to leave and very hard and very heated negotiations have been going on for weeks.”
Harrison is now walking away from the franchise he hosted for 19 years with an eight-figure payout, Deadline he first reported on Tuesday, though sources familiar with the negotiations said it’s not as high as the $ 25 million required.
The payment came with a promise to “keep your mouth shut,” according to Deadline.
Representing Harrison in the negotiations was eminent 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 it was abusive.
Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, a former Miss America, later withdrew her complaint and received $ 10 million in compensation.
“Chris Harrison hired Bryan Freedman, who represented Mike Fleiss’ wife, who immediately created an aggressive playing field,” a second source told Page Six. “It was a group of emotionally charged men in a room who weren’t happy with each other at all.”
Harrison’s departure would follow weeks of intense negotiations with ABC Entertainment executives as he asked for a $ 25 million payment or revealed behind-the-scenes secrets.
Warner Media and ABC Entertainment confirmed Harrison’s departure in a statement after Deadline broke the news.
“Chris Harrison has stepped aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” the producers told Fox News in a statement.
Harrison had hired prominent Los Angeles attorney Bryan Freedman (pictured) to represent him in the negotiations
“We are grateful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best for his new journey.”
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor’s franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote. “I am so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all the memories we have created 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.”
“Thank you for being a friend, a cool guy and a great host,” Underwood wrote. “I can’t wait to see what you 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,” a “standing boy and a guest from hell”
Harrison also wrote a farewell post thanking the “Bachelor Nation” for 20 years of memories
Harrison’s departure comes about five months after he was targeted for a Extra interview in which she appeared to be defending a competitor, Rachael Kirkconnell, for 2018 photos showing her attending an Old South plantation-themed fraternity.
He said in the February interview: “We all need to have some grace, some understanding, some compassion” towards Kirkconnell amid the turbulent times of “awake police” and the cancellation of the police. culture.
“I’ve seen some stuff online – this judge, jury, hangman thing, where people are tearing apart this girl’s life and diving into her parents’ voting record,” she said. ‘It’s incredibly alarming to watch this.’
“I haven’t heard Rachael talk about this yet,” Harrison continued. “And until I really feel that this woman has a chance to speak, who am I to say all this?”
Those comments sparked an online backlash, and Harrison later went to Instagram to clarify his remarks.
“While I don’t speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering the opportunity to speak for her,” she wrote. “What I realize I have done is cause harm by speaking incorrectly in a way that perpetuates racism, and for that I am deeply sorry.”
By Valentine’s Day, Harrison announced that he would “step aside for a period of time” during the show’s first season to introduce a black bachelor.
Harrison apologized for his remarks in the interview with GMA host Michael Strahan in early March, admitting he was “numb” and “made a mistake” while promising to return to the reality show and “be part of the change.”
But his apology was rejected by Strahan who suggested his contrition was only “superficial” and a ploy by his ABC colleague to get his $ 8 million a year job back.
Harrison apologized in an interview with WFD host Michael Strahan in March, saying he was “numb” and “made a mistake” (above)
Former bachelorette parties Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are now co-hosts of the current bachelorette season, and just last week, executives announced a rotating list of hosts for the franchise’s summer show, Bachelor in Paradise. .
Kirkconnell, meanwhile, received the final squad from Bachelor Matt James in the March 15 season finale, but in the “After the Rose” special that night, James said he cut things off.
James was reportedly “hesitant to publicly and openly confirm” the relationship because it was “still fresh and they still have issues to resolve,” an unnamed source told Page Six.
“Rachael has already gone through a thorough examination for her past, and now all eyes have turned to Matt,” the source said. ‘So he feels pressured to set a good example for other black men.’
The couple were recently spotted together in Miami and the Hamptons.
Graduate Matt James ended up picking Kirkconnell in the season finale