Chris Harrison hired high-profile lawyer Bryan J. Freedman from Freedman & Taitelman — the lawyer who represented Gabrielle Union in her recent dispute over a racial incident while on the America’s Got Talent set — following the recent racism controversy that plagued the embattled host and the Bachelor franchise, according to multiple reports.
"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," a source told Page Six. "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."
While it's unclear why Harrison lawyered up, news that he retained the power attorney comes after ABC announced Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams as the cohosts of The Bachelorette. The back-to-back Bachelorette seasons are set to debut later this year with Katie Thurston and Michelle Young as the leads.
As OK! previously reported, Harrison announced he would temporarily be stepping down as host of the beloved reality series to get "educated" following his ill-fated interview with Rachel Lindsay, the first Black lead Bachelor history, last month.
Harrison sparked controversy when he said Bachelor Nation should offer Matt James' winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, “a little grace, a little understanding,” after racially charged photos of her resurfaced online. Days later, he posted an apology, saying: "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."
Harrison, 49, also said he wouldn't take part in the After the Final Rose special, which took place right after the season 25 finale. As OK! previously reported, Emmanuel Acho stepped in as host of the special — during which he sat with James, 29, and Kirkconnell, 24, to discuss her controversial photos and the status of their relationship.
And while it seems Harrison has yet to be accepted back into the Bachelor franchise, James — the first Black male lead — said he supports Harrison's commitment to change. During the handsome hunk's appearance on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" on Friday, March 19, he disclosed that Harrison personally apologized to him.
"Chris has outlined in his statement that he’s committed to putting in the work, he’s taking a step back, so I respect that. I hope that he does,” James said, emphasizing that he doesn't think "anybody should be trying to cancel him."
"We should be calling him in to do that work that he’s outlined that he wants to do," James explained. "I look forward to seeing him do that.”
Meanwhile, Harrison is eyeing his return to the franchise while producers are said to be searching for a permanent host to save the show. an An OK! source dished that producers are "getting clobbered with calls for Chris’ removal as host and they are weighing that option. They may have no other choice but to replace him."