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Is “The Bachelor” As We Know it Done for Good?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Producer and creator of ABC’s The Bachelor, Mike Fleiss has stepped down immediately following the finale of the 27th season of the show. Fleiss has been leading the franchise since its beginnings in 2002 and has stepped down without explicitly stating his reasoning why. It is assumed this is due to an investigation that has been recently opened surrounding misconduct allegations. Fleiss himself has not been received well by Bachelor fans in recent years. There have been multiple occasions in which he tweets something suggestive about the show and how things will play out, and oftentimes these tweets are found to be stretching the truth, or even completely making up points of drama in order to increase viewership. 

In addition to not having a great relationship with Bachelor Nation, it appears that Fleiss is not very well-liked by those within the franchise themselves. Kaitlyn Bristowe, a former Bachelorette star, claims that he prevented her from opportunities after the show including appearing on Dancing with the Stars. Chris Harrison, a former Bachelor host who was forced to step down from his position due to racist remarks, called Mike Fleiss “a narcissist” on his podcast after Fleiss left the franchise as well.

The Bachelor and all its spin-offs have never been known for their diversity. The large majority of the casts have been and still are white women and men. Although this may have been the norm in 2002, the year the show was created, it is no longer acceptable in popular media. The franchise has received a ton of backlash in recent years due to this issue, as well as how they have handled scandals that have come up surrounding the issue of race. Many people blame Fleiss for this, as he has ultimately decided the path the franchise should take for the past 21 years. Now that he’s stepped down, there are a lot of questions about the future of The Bachelor and the entire franchise. In my opinion, now is the perfect time to completely revamp the franchise. I think there should be an emphasis on diversity in the upcoming seasons, especially for the lead bachelors and bachelorettes. Being such a popular series, those stepping up to take Fleiss’ place have the responsibility to ensure this is present, as well as to ensure that those being invited onto the show are well-educated on topics such as race, and have been known to act properly and educate themselves in regards to difficult situations that come up surrounding issues of race. There have been multiple occasions where it has been revealed during or after seasons that contestants have posted racist things on social media. A huge scandal occurred in 2021 involving Bachelor winner Rachael Kirkconnell. She was found to have pictures up on her social media depicting her attending an “old south” or “Antebellum” themed party. The party was thrown by a knowingly racist fraternity at Georgia State University, and was held on a plantation. This is especially controversial because she was set to marry The Bachelor’s Matt James, a Black man. The situation was handled poorly, especially by host Chris Harrison, who had to step down as a result as previously mentioned.

I think The Bachelor franchise that we know now is done for good. However, I think the shows will continue. As long as everyone involved in the franchise is aware that there is no longer room for exclusion, I think The Bachelor will continue to be very successful because… who doesn’t love a little drama?

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Brynn Geary

U Mass Amherst '24

Brynn is a senior and a communication and sociology major at UMass Amherst. Aside from writing, Brynn spends most of her time dancing, going to concerts and searching for the perfect iced oat milk latte.