“The Bachelor” has had more scandalous moments than anyone could possibly remember. Over 19 years and 25 seasons, we’ve seen all kinds of single men meet and date 25 women in hopes of finding the one (via IMDb). Sometimes, it’s resulted in a true love match but more often than not, it’s resulted in complete disaster.
Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to compete with 25 people for a person’s heart. It can’t be easy for the person who finds themselves in a position to get to know and likely get to hurt 25 different people. There are bound to be some bumps in the road.
Bachelor Nation has changed and evolved throughout the franchise’s history. Some of those changes were the results of enormous scandals within the franchise that forced the cast and crew of the show to look at things differently. Here are some of the most shocking moments in the history of “The Bachelor”.
A contestant had an affair with a producer
During pilot Jake Pavelka’s season of “The Bachelor,” a fan-favorite got the boot suddenly. Rozlyn Papa was pulled aside by host Chris Harrison during a date and confronted about an “inappropriate relationship” with a producer. Papa was asked to leave the show immediately, but the controversy didn’t end there.
“She had a physical relationship with a producer on our show,” Harrison told People. “Other girls on the show saw it. The producer confessed more than once and to more than one person. I cannot make it any clearer. We would never go to the lengths we did and take the steps we did, firing somebody and kicking someone off our show if we thought maybe something might be happening.”
That was exactly Papa’s accusation, however. Papa explained she bonded with the producer over being a parent. She alleged the producer was helping her contact her kid, who Pavelka did not know about at the time because producers hadn’t let her share that information (via Daily Mail).
Harrison disagreed, saying, “We were five days in to taping. We weren’t worried about her telling Jake she had a son because she had plenty of time because she was one of the front-runners. But the fact that she was a mom, not a mom, whatever, had nothing to do with the fact that she had a relationship with one of our producers and had to be kicked off the show, period.”
A leaked photo spoiled a finale a week before it aired
Kaitlyn Bristowe was looking for love on season 11 of “The Bachelorette” and fans were captivated by her journey. They were also a little peeved when the ending of her season was spoiled just a week before the finale (via Washington Post).
It all started when Bristowe decided to send a photo of herself and the winner of her season to producers. The only problem? She accidentally posted the photo of her and her season’s winner, Shawn Booth, in bed together. The couple explained the slip-up in an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” after the finale (via Business Insider).
“We were sending snaps to producers,” Booth explained.
“Because there’s only a few people that know we’re together, so we get all excited when we’re together to send a snap and be like, ‘Oh my gosh we can send it to a producer!'” Bristowe added.
“I get out of bed, I pick up my phone and go on Twitter and there are like 100 pictures of my stupid face lying in bed with her,” Booth continued. “I start having a panic attack. I couldn’t even breathe. I’m bent over the bed like, ‘Oh my God what’d I do?’ I thought it was me. She’s yelling at me.”
Bristowe noted that she realized it was her and not Booth who accidentally leaked the photo.
Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s unedited breakup was one of the show's most painful moments
Arie Luyendyk Jr. seemed like he had his mind made up when he proposed to Becca Kufrin in Peru at the end of season 22 (per Us Weekly). Usually, that’s where a season “The Bachelor” ends, but not this time. Shortly after choosing Kufrin, Luyendyk had a change of heart. Luyendyk explained that as he got to know Kufrin and spent time with her, he couldn’t stop thinking about runner up Lauren Burnham.
“I kept waking up and going to bed thinking of her and pushing back those feelings and trying to see if it work for us. But I just felt that the further along we got, the further I started drifting away from the possibility of trying it again with her,” he told Kufrin in a brutal breakup conversation that aired in its entirety (per Glamour).
The uncomfortable 40-minute long breakup did pave the way for Luyendyk’s happy ending. He proposed to Burnham on “After The Final Rose” and today, the two are married with one child and twins on the way (per People).
A reckoning with race turned the franchise's last year upside down
Season 25 saw the first Black bachelor, Matt James, as well as 25 BIPOC women competing for his heart (per People). With an emphasis on race and progress that season, you’d think the contestants would be vetted deeply, especially their past online. Such was not the case, as Rachael Kirkconnell learned when a series of TikToks exposed her past criticizing other women for dating Black men. It got worse when photos surfaced of Kirkconnell at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018.
Kirkconnell apologized, but the issue didn’t end there. After her apology, the women of the show were still unhappy with how the situation was handled. They were further upset when Chris Harrison did an interview with the first Black Bachelorette, Extra correspondent Rachel Lindsay, and defended Kirkconnell, saying she was a victim of the “woke police”. Harrison asserted that it was a situation that looks much worse in the context of 2021 than it was when it happened … a whole three years prior.
Needless to say, this caused more backlash which saw Harrison walk away from hosting duties for the first time, which he announced in a lengthy statement on Instagram. It’s unclear if and when he’ll return, which would definitely be one of the biggest scandals in the history of “The Bachelor”.
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