Emmanuel Acho Replaces Chris Harrison for Matt James' 'AFR'

Emmanuel Acho is stepping in. The former NFL player and on-air personalitywill be taking host Chris Harrison’s spot for The Bachelor’s upcoming After the Final Rose special, it was announced on Saturday.

Harrison announced on Feb. 13, in his second apology for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racist actions, that he’d be taking time off and would not be hosting the special with Matt James and his final pick.

“It’s both an honor and privilege to be hosting After the Final Rose. This is an incredibly pivotal episode on one of the most storied shows in television history,” said Acho about the March 15 special.

Acho will sit down with James to discuss his season, his final decision and where he is now, as well as cover the current events about the franchise. Acho will also speak with the final three women, Bri, Michelle and Rachael during the one-hour special.

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A post shared by Emmanuel Acho (@emmanuelacho)

In an interview with Rachel Lindsay on Feb. 9, Harrison defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist actions, and encouraged people to offer her “grace.”

Just after James’ Bachelor premiere in January, a TikTok user accused Kirkconnell — an early front runner on the show — of bullying her in the past for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college.

In a statement on Instagram on Feb. 11, Kirkconnell apologized, and said she hoped to “earn your forgiveness through my future actions.” She also released a lengthy video statement on Feb. 25, expressing that people need to be held accountable for their actions.

That apology came one day after Harrison issued his own statement, apologizing for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” by defending Kirkconnell’s racist actions and asking people to offer her “grace.”

Many fans continued to speak out against him, while nearly all the contestants on James’ season — including Kirkconnell — shared a post condemning “any defense of racism.” 

In a follow-up statement on Feb. 13, Harrison revealed he’d be stepping away for a “period of time.” 

“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 so wrong,” he continued in part, before sending a message to the Black and BIPOC communities.

“The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time,” Harrison wrote.

The Bachelor: After the Final Rose airs March 15 at 10 p.m. PT on ABC.

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