The Bachelor franchise, historically, has produced shows to please fans. Chris Harrison often says that when Bachelor Nation speaks, the show’s creators listen. It’s mostly true, too. Social media trends and fan reactions are often reflected in casting choices made for upcoming seasons.
Let’s face it, though: The show’s fans aren’t the only ones who count. There are stockholders, shareholders, advertisers and big money involved. Watching people behaving badly turns a profit. Sometimes, producers make choices the fans don’t like, or seem to turn a blind eye to extreme negative behavior or the shady pasts of contestants. Other times, contestants show their worst selves on camera and producers keep rolling because drama—even seriously ugly and below-the-belt drama—draws viewers.
Here are 15 examples of scandalous times the Bachelor franchise infuriated fans.
15 Not offering Wells Adams the ‘Bachelor’ role
First of all, we’re stoked (stoked!) that Arie Luyendyk Jr. has been cast as the leading man of The Bachelor’s upcoming season, and to point out the failure of casting Wells here is not intended to detract from Arie.
Now, with that said, fans really wanted Wells Adams to at least be in contention to be next season’s Bachelor, but it seems he wasn’t even approached by producers. Wells told reporters at the Paradise finale taping that “I am not going to be the Bachelor because no one has asked me to be the Bachelor.”
That doesn’t mean Wells has been ruled out as ever being the Bachelor, however. Remember, Arie last appeared on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette all the way back in 2012.
14 Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo’s anti-climactic engagement
To anyone watching Rachel Lindsay’s Bachelorette season finale, all the drama of that final episode was most certainly not where it should have been. The drama should have been when robotic Casanova Bryan got down on bended knee; instead all emotion was invested in Rachel’s breakup scene with runner-up Peter Kraus. Rachel cried so hard that she lost her fake eyelashes when Peter sensibly refused to be pressured by the show’s format into proposing for the finale. He told Rachel: “Okay, well then go find someone who is going to give you a mediocre life!”
The evident, genuine emotion between them in that scene was so compelling that it made Bryan and Rachel’s engagement (which should have been the climactic moment of the episode) fall completely flat.
13 Dean Unglert’s downfall
Fans loved Dean when he appeared as a suitor on Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette. He may have started off on the wrong foot with his introductory quip to Rachel, “I’m ready to go black and never come back,” but he redeemed himself as time went on with his seeming maturity, his speaking out against racist Lee Garrett and being open about his difficult childhood and estrangement from his father. Dean was ultimately rejected by Rachel, but emerged from her season as a strong fan favorite.
That is, until he went to Mexico and indulged in a hurtful a love triangle involving fellow Bachelor alum D-Lo and Kristina. It’s rumored that Dean’s insensitive behavior with these two women torpedoed his chances of becoming the next Bachelor.
12 Casting Lee Garrett
Supposedly, Bachelor producers thoroughly investigate contestants. They’re reviewed by mental health experts to ensure fitness for the show, they screen test and producers find out about potential contestants’ values, hobbies and their likes and dislikes.
In light of this, it seems a curious oversight that they didn’t review Lee Garrett’s tweets before casting him, because if they’d dug into Lee’s Twitter past, they’d find racist tweets such as the above quoted one comparing the NAACP to the KKK.
Lee’s casting for Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette smacks of deliberation on the part of the franchise because Rachel’s season also happened to feature a more racially diverse cast than ever before. While the show’s true motives in casting Lee remain unclear, racism is far too serious an issue to be leveraged for ratings.
11 The show’s lack of ethnic diversity
While the Bachelor franchise was applauded for casting Rachel Lindsay as the first black Bachelorette, historically, the show has a terrible track record of casting only mostly white Caucasians as both stars and contestants. While Rachel’s starring role and her diverse cast were definitely steps in the right direction, the franchise still has a long way to go, as can be seen in the above collage of the all-white faces featuring the show’s past stars. While the past cannot be changed, a new, more diverse history can be written from now forward.
On the show’s most recent “Men Tell All” episode from Rachel’s season, Lee Garrett’s selectively instigating behavior provoked a thoughtful and respectful discussion about racism—so kudos to producers for providing viewers with that enlightening teaching moment.
10 Dueling stars of ‘The Bachelorette’ branded a "sexist" move
For season 11 of The Bachelorette, the show’s creators decided to shake things up with the concept of dueling bachelorettes—meaning they would cast two bachelorettes and allow the suitors to choose (by majority vote at the end of the night) which bachelorette would stand as the one whose hearts they’d vie for. This face-off pitted friends from Chris Soules’ season, Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, against each other for the coveted starring role.
In the end, Kaitlyn prevailed. When the two later spoke to People magazine, both admitted the situation was awkward but the fact that they were friends and could openly talk about it made things easier. Fans were generally outraged, however, and many found the notion of male contestants selecting which Bachelorette they wanted to date to be sexist.
9 Men’s mud wrestling date during Rachel’s season
Mud wrestling isn’t the most dignified activity. You’d never go to any swanky joint and expect to see bros grappling and taking muddy dives for sport. Rachel and friends (fellow contestants from her season) all wore clear rain slickers to protect their clothes as they watched. You kind of felt for the guys who had to strip and get down and get dirty in front of everyone—other than contestant Kenny Layne (AKA professional wrestler Kenny King). As expected, Kenny did really well thanks to having an edge with his professional background, although firefighter Bryce beat him in the final match.
They’d never dare ask female contestants from The Bachelor to participate in mud wrestling contests, though. Imagine the reaction? Male contestants shouldn’t be asked do so, either.
8 Juan Pablo’s problematic behavior as Bachelor
Juan Pablo seemed so charming when he first appeared on Desiree Hartsock’s season of The Bachelorette. This was because he hardly spoke. His nice-guy impression did not survive his starring in The Bachelor season 18 premiering in "Juanuary" 2014.
Charming and humble as he might have seemed during his fleeting time with Desiree, Juan Pablo’s interactions with his season’s contestants weren’t entirely positive. He slut-shamed Clare Crawley, implying that he regretted their sleeping together because he worried about what his young daughter might think. He spoke of his time with Clare during his overnight with Andi, infuriating Andi to the point where she huffily left the show. His runner up (Clare) ripped him a new one before storming off at their final rose ceremony.
Juan Pablo’s season turned out to be a real sh*tshow.
7 Chad Johnson’s aggression
Chad’s pretty much your classic gym rat meathead type. The kind of guy who remembers his maximum bench press numbers more readily than his banking password. He’s got a simmering ‘roid rage tension about him like he could blow if anyone pisses him off. In the Bachelor Mansion, Chad continually chowed down on platters of cold cuts and seemed to be following some kind of hardcore paleo diet. He threatened fellow contestants with violence and blew off steam with reps of chin-ups and triceps dips. He ripped fellow contestant Evan Bass’s shirt on a group date. Even after this, he was invited to return for a stint on Bachelor in Paradise where he was ejected from the resort within 24 hours due to his offensive behavior, saying: “F*ck you Chris Harrison!”
6 Jason Mesnick rumored to have ditched Melissa Rycroft for ratings on "After the Final Rose"
Back in early 2009 when Bachelor Jason Mesnick changed his mind about his chosen winner (Melissa Rycroft) and dumped her on the “After the Final Rose” episode in order to pursue his now wife, Molly Malaney, this really was the most dramatic ending to a Bachelor show ever. Many viewers saw this as a ratings ploy — which Jason denied, being quoted in People magazine as saying: “I swear on my son’s life, I would never be part of something like that,” an emotional Jason says. “The reason I changed my mind is that it was in my heart.”
Well, time tells all and it turns out that Jason was, indeed, being honest about his feelings as he and Molly have now been happily married for more than seven years.
5 Unnecessarily recycling stars
The thing is, Bachelor franchise producers don’t really need to recycle stars. Especially when they have awesome potential Bachelors who have yet to be cast such as Eric Bigger, Wells Adams or Peter Kraus. Still, they’ve given two bachelors who’ve appeared on their show at least one chance too many, as far as some fans are concerned. Brad Womack provided one of the most dramatic endings ever on his season when he rejected both finalists and was given a second go-round. Nick’s a two-time Bachelorette runner-up who’s also appeared on Bachelor in Paradise. Then he was chosen to be The Bachelor. It was recently rumored that Nick was possibly in the running to be The Bachelor yet again but fortunately, a further season featuring Nick was nixed.
4 Contestants reportedly emotionally manipulated for the sake of “good TV”
This show is supposed to be about finding love, but only the most naive viewer would truly believe that to be the case. It’s about entertainment and profit as well and nothing drives such factors in the television market as well as high tension drama. Sometimes, drama needs to be manufactured where it doesn’t exist. Jesse Csincsak, (winner from DeAnna Pappas’ season of The Bachelorette) was quoted at lifeandstyle.com as saying the show’s “not about finding love, it is about embarrassing the hell out of each and every contestant for ratings and money.”
Jesse goes on to say: “they have you write down your fears and if you say you are afraid of heights, they make sure they put you on the top of a skyscraper — that’s what makes good TV.”
3 Encouraging contestants to drink
It’s evident just from watching any of the Bachelor franchise shows that alcohol’s freely and readily available. Wine glasses are often in contestant’s hands; in side interviews when some have had too much to drink they’re clearly slurring their words.
Taylor Nolan stated on this year’s Bachelor in Paradise that she doesn’t drink and has never been pressured to drink by producers. That’s all well and good but it doesn’t mean that for contestants who do drink that producers don’t encourage their behavior.
That said, after this summer’s BiP scandal involving Corrine Olympios and DeMario Jackson, the contestants' drinks were limited to two per hour according to Vinny Ventiera. Ventiera also told E! News that contestants had to provide on-camera consent if they wanted to spend the night with a fellow contestant.
2 Contestants clearly on the show for the "wrong reasons"
It’s clear in some cases that certain contestants are not really out to have a relationship with the Bachelor or Bachelorette at all. Take Whaboom™, AKA Lucas Yancey, for instance. He seemed much more interested in self-promotion than romancing Rachel.
According to Yancey, his interest on going on The Bachelorette was "50-50" in terms of finding love and making a name for himself. "Some people take it way too seriously. I wasn't there to get the next rose. That's obviously part of it, but it's mostly about being on the show," he said.
Singers and songwriters often appear on the show to further their careers. They usually find a moment to serenade the show’s star and in the process score a prime time plug for their music.
1 Chris Harrison should be cast as ‘The Bachelor’
Chris Harrison has been divorced from his college sweetheart wife Gwen for around five years now. Every time the casting of a new Bachelor has come around since Harrison’s divorce, the host’s name has been floated with the idea of reversing roles where Harrison becomes the show’s star, handing out the roses himself. For the franchise to cast Harrison as The Bachelor really would be one of the most dramatic twists ever.
So, c’mon ABC, make it happen. It’s definitely something Bachelor Nation wants to see. Viewers would love to watch the franchise’s beloved host find love!
sources: www.usmagazine.com, acceptthisrose.com, eonline.com, etonline.com, lifeandstylemag, latimes.com, people.com, newyorker.com, refinery29.com, en.wikipedia.org, time.com, wetpaint.com, realitysteve.com.