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The Toxicity of “The Bachelor” Franchise

by Nicole Iuzzolino

On June 7, Katie Thurston’s season of “The Bachelorette” premiered. The 17th season of “The Bachelorette” will be one of the three consecutive seasons filmed at a resort due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, located in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, will not be the only new aspect of the series; Chris Harrison is no longer the host.

After 19 years of hosting “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” as well as “Bachelor in Paradise,” Harrison made the decision to resign. The resignation comes after he took a break from the show back in February, during Matt James’ season. The former host went on this break after stating to former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay that contestant Rachael Kirkconnell should receive “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” when it came to racist actions she made in the past.

He went on to further say that, “Because I have seen some stuff online-this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that’s it.” These comments generated anger all throughout Bachelor Nation, pushing Harrison to issue a public apology and then finally announce his break from the franchise on February 13.

To some, it seems like the drama is over. Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Addams and Kaitlyn Bristowe proved how great two women hosts could be, Katie Thurston brought sex-positive energy to our TV screens, and it seems like Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James are back together after Instagram stories showed them gallivanting around together.

But is this really what “The Bachelor” is like? That despite the chaos, it’ll be sunshine, and rainbows and all the former contestants will become best friends and do brand deals? Well, not necessarily. Yes, the girls from Matt James’ season seem to have a really nice friendship where they spend their days doing things all girls love to do in New York City, but there are so many negatives to the overall series. For starters, contestants get insanely ridiculed, torn apart, and extensively researched by viewers to the point where information about their families is revealed that really shouldn’t be. Due to the producers, the show extensively over exaggerates many of the situations, setting up viewers to hate on girls for being “villainous” when in reality they never did anything that bad to begin with.

The toxicity was exemplified in Peter Weber’s season for creating a situation that did not have to be in “The Bachelor.” The orchestrated event involved Weber and contestant Victoria Fuller, where they attended a VIP country music concert where the musician performing was a very serious ex-boyfriend of Fuller, according to the Washington Post. As expected, this event ruined the mood of the entire day and left Fuller feeling very upset. This event, which was arranged, mentally affected Fuller, as would it affect anyone. The whole purpose, as most reality shows go, was to stir the pot, but how much stirring can you do until things start to boil over?

Things certainly did boil over on Matt James’ season; 1 million viewers dropped every single episode, according to The U.S. Sun. The reason behind it: people are tired of the nonsense. With the gaslighting seen in Hannah Brown’s season from Luke P. and with the most recent “Women Tell All” episode focused on vicious bullying, it leaves viewers wondering, when will the show be just about love and roses again?

Unfortunately, that is a question that cannot be answered. Reality TV loves its drama, and there are “The Bachelor” fans who love it as well. No matter how many names get slandered, racism and gaslighting incidents revealed, and hair-pulling catfights, it is still hard to say if the end is near or not. However, with Chris Harrison, the seemingly untouchable host now out of the picture, maybe the final rose for the franchise is in sight.


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