Longtime “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison has stepped aside from the show following controversial comments he made earlier this year perpetuating racism. Now, ABC has announced Emmanuel Acho will replace Harrison as host of the “After the Final Rose” special, which will air next month.

Acho is a former NFL linebacker, Fox Sports analyst, and best-selling author. He also hosts the online series, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” which promotes discussions about racial issues and ignorance.

“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,” Acho said in a statement.

The popular reality show was hit with major controversy this season when Harrison defended a contestant’s racist actions. In an interview with former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay, he defended current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos surfaced of her attending an Old South plantation-themed fraternity party. 

“The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party… that’s not a good look,” Lindsay said. Harrison replied, “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”

Kirkconnell also came under fire for liking social media pictures containing the Confederate flag and bullying a classmate on TikTok for dating a black man. Ironically, she remains a frontrunner for this season, which features the first-ever Black lead.

Following Harrison’s interview with Lindsay, she spoke to People and declared Acho would be her pick to host the television special.

Emmanuel Acho would be fantastic,” she told the magazine. “[He is] very outspoken about racial injustice, for social justice, and has pretty much been the person who said, I can have these uncomfortable conversations, and people trust it.’”

It’s unclear whether her endorsement impacted ABC’s decision to select Acho as the host. However, it will certainly be interesting to see how the special goes when he sits down with the final three contestants: Rachael, Bri, and Michelle. Acho is expected to discuss the finale, as well as the recent controversy.

The network has not addressed whether Harrison will be involved in the special, or if he will be returning to the show in any capacity after this season. He has been the sole host of the show during its two-decade run, as well as its spinoffs: “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise.”

“The Bachelor: After the Final Rose” will air on March 15 on ABC, following the finale of “The Bachelor.” 

Will you be tuning in to the special? What’s your take on the controversy surrounding this season? Let us know in the comments!