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Chris Harrison may hand “The Bachelor” a bombshell legal filing rather than a rose.
Harrison has retained power attorney Bryan Freedman, the same lawyer who represented Gabrielle Union in her recent dispute with “America’s Got Talent” at NBC, Page Six has exclusively learned.
So far it’s unclear what, if any, legal actions are being explored. But a friend of Harrison’s told us on Friday of the move: “Chris has had a spotless record for 20 years … He has always been the good company man, but, after the way he’s been treated by producers and executives over the past couple of weeks, he’s run out of cheeks to turn.”
The pal added, “Now he’s ready to tell the truth about how things really work over there — and he has plenty of evidence to back him up.”
Freedman repped Union in her dispute with “AGT” last year after she complained of racism and a “toxic environment” on the talent show and had been let go as a judge. The case was settled in September. Freedman in June had filed a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Union’s behalf, after NBC had wrapped its own investigation.
Harrison, 49, would certainly know where the Bachelor Nation bodies are buried. He hosted all 25 seasons of “The Bachelor,” as well as all 16 seasons of “The Bachelorette,” before taking a leave from the show amid controversy last month.
He stepped away after an uproar when he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell in an ill-fated interview with Rachel Lindsay, who’d been the franchise’s first black Bachelorette. Pictures had surfaced of Kirkconnell, 24, attending a plantation-themed party in 2018 as a student, and she was also accused of having “liked” racially insensitive social media posts online. Harrison said fans should offer Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding.”
He later apologized, and said of the interview: “By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was wrong.”
He also said in a statement, “I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the ‘After the Final Rose’ special.”
He did not specify how long his exit would be, but “The Bachelorette” announced last week that Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will co-host the show’s next season. “The Bachelor” wrapped its latest season this week, hitting a ratings high, but reportedly fell short of last season’s finale numbers.
After Harrison’s comments to Lindsay about Kirkconnell, the female contestants of “The Bachelor” Season 25 released a statement saying, “We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism.”
But this week, Matt James, the first black Bachelor, expressed hope Harrison could eventually return.
“I don’t think that anybody should be trying to cancel him,” James reportedly told Bill Simmons. “We should be calling him in to do that work that he outlined and wants to do. He’s taking a step back and committed to doing that. I look forward to seeing him doing that.”
Freedman has also repped former Grammys boss Deborah Dugan in her recent explosive dispute with the Recording Academy.
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