Content Warning: This article discusses topics of sexual assault, eating disorders, and substance addiction.
ABC’s The Bachelor reality television franchise – which encompasses The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, and more – is one of the most popular in the world right now. Reality television viewers can always count on watching some shocking moments, heated arguments, embarrassing incidents, and lots of tears.
However, there are sometimes deep issues that come up on the show that have to be dealt with. Some of these issues have even caused full-blown shutdowns of production for a period of time. Each of these events has helped educate fans and cast alike about real-life problems they otherwise might not have been aware of.
10 Bekah Martinez: Ageism
Rebekah “Bekah” Martinez was a contestant on 37-year-old Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season. So, when he found out one of his frontrunners, Bekah Martinez, was about fifteen years his junior at only 22 years old, he freaked out. While this is understandable to some degree, what ensued was not, with many of Bekah’s fellow contestants and social media users bullying her for being so young.
Then Arie left his fiancé for another contestant after the show’s finale and it was revealed that he had been trying to rekindle relationships with several of his exes during that time (Martinez included). Martinez held her own and called him out, which demonstrated her own maturity.
9 Britt Nilsson: Eating Disorders & Addiction
Britt Nilsson was a contestant on Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor. It wasn’t until a few years after her stint on the show that she posted a youtube video to her channel. In this raw and tearful video, she opens up about developing a binge eating disorder as a child and how she had a bulimic relapse on the show.
Nilsson also admitted to being addicted to cocaine in college. Her candid video addresses these issues head-on. She encourages anyone going through similar things to just “tell somebody” and get help.
8 Kelsey Weier: Emotion Shaming
Fans probably remember Kelsey Weier as the victim of #ChampagneGate in Peter Weber’s season. She was also compared to former contestant Ashley Iaconetti repeatedly because she cried so much on camera. Some of her fellow contestants bullied her for being so emotional on the show, which they thought was unfounded.
So, Ashley Iaconetti, one of the most famous and successful former contestants from the franchise, came to “The Women Tell All” episode. She surprised Kelsey with a giant bottle of champagne, of course. Iaconetti also praised Weier for wearing her heart on her sleeve and to ignore those who were shaming her emotions.
7 Kaitlyn Bristowe: Slut-Shaming
Many people believe that putting yourself in the public eye means having to deal with online hate comments. However, that does not mean any of it is deserved or okay. Kaitlyn Bristowe was the franchise’s eleventh Bachelorette to look for love on national television.
Bristowe kissed each of her suitors, has an unconventional sense of humor and was the first Bachelorette to openly admit to having sex with a contestant before the Fantasy Suite episode. The backlash she received online was so bad that Chris Harrison had to address it on “The Men Tell All.” Some of the comments and tweets were shown on the large screen and viewers were shocked by how mean they all were.
6 Kristina Schulman: Poverty
Kristina Schulman, a contestant on Nick Viall’s season, spent her early childhood in Russia. When she and Nick finally have a one-on-one date, she reveals just how difficult that childhood was. She lived in extreme poverty. One day, her mother claimed she would leave but come back with food and instructed Kristina not to eat anything.
Kristina broke the rules, though, by eating lipstick. When her mom found out, she kicked her out. Kristina was only around five or six years old at the time. Those who watch the show or go on the show don’t usually have to confront something so dark. It was an eye-opener for everyone. Kristina gave another detailed account of her story on “The Women Tell All” here.
5 Demi Burnett: LGBTQ+ Representation
Demi Burnett may not have been the first openly bisexual contestant in the franchise, but she was the first to have a same-sex relationship on Bachelor in Paradise. Even though she made a couple of connections with some of the men there, she admitted that her heart was still back home with a woman named Kristian Haggarty.
Producers of the show surprised Demi by flying Kristian out to be with her. They remained together happily for the rest of the season, demonstrating how real any and all love can be.
4 Rachel Lindsay: The First Black Bachelorette
The Bachelor franchise has come under fire on more than one occasion for its lack of African-American leads. Attorney Rachel Lindsay was the first-ever Black Bachelorette in its thirteenth season, and she was a fan favorite from the beginning.
Rachel went on to prove herself a compassionate, strong, and entertaining lead. She helped pave the way for more African American representation in the franchise, like the most recent season featuring the first-ever Black Bachelor Matt James.
3 Matt James: Antebellum Parties
At the end of his season, Bachelor Matt James proposed to Rachael Kirkconnell. Shortly after their engagement, though, photos surfaced of Rachael attending what was called an “Antebellum Party” in the southern part of the United States.
“Antebellum” usually refers to the period in the southern United States just before the Civil War. Guests were invited to dress up and act like people from that time period. The event was held several years before her time on the show, but it offended her new fiance nonetheless. They broke up but later reconciled once Rachael was able to prove that he had educated herself and learned from the experience.
2 Corinne & DeMario: Consent
During the filming process of Bachelor in Paradise in 2017, production had to be abruptly shut down for two weeks. Contestants all had to fly home while the show was under investigation. A couple of the newer producers of the show had complained about feeling uncomfortable during a sexual encounter between Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson.
They believed that Corinne was too intoxicated to consent to the encounter and that DeMario took advantage of her. After the investigation concluded there was no wrongdoing, production resumed with many disclaimers and explanations of consent.
1 Caelynn Miller-Keyes: Sexual Assault
Caelynn Miller-Keyes was a contestant on Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor. On one of her one-on-one dates with him, she reveals her heartbreaking story of being drugged and sexually assaulted by some of her college friends. She was the first contestant to ever share a story of sexual assault while on the show and it has forever changed Bachelor Nation.
Caelynn was interviewed by Chris Harrison about this later as well. As the first person to talk about it on the show, she was probably able to help many fans and viewers as well.
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