Does ‘The Bachelor’ Have a Bullying Problem?

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Bachelor Nation is no stranger to drama. It is reality TV, after all. However, the incessant drama on Matt James’s season of The Bachelor has asked some fans to ask: where is the line between indulgent entertainment, and bullying?

It’s no secret that millions of people watch The Bachelor, not just out of interest in the hunk himself, but for the unfailingly juicy drama between the female contestants. Season 25 has not disappointed in that department, with front-runner Sarah Trott exiting the show at the end of Episode 3 in tears, citing the “toxic” environment in the house. After fainting at a rose ceremony and crashing a group date to which she was not invited, the 24-year old San Diego native faced harsh criticism from her fellow contestants. Several women called Sarah “toxic,” “calculated” and “manipulative.” New York City socialite Kit Keenan went so far as to call for Sarah to quit the show telling her, “I hope that your connection with Matt is really strong right now, because the rest of your living situation here is going to be horrible.”

Sarah did indeed leave the show, citing the damaging effects of having a “target on [her] back” in an effort to prioritize her “well-being” after having her “worst fear” come to fruition. Viewers on social media immediately condemned the unabashed bullying that drove Sarah out, with many hoping that the “mean girls” responsible be removed from the show.

The girls’ behavior on Monday’s (January 25) episode was even more distressing. One of the brand new contestants brought on the show, Brittany, was accused of being an escort by a fellow Chicago native. Anna Redman, who has since been widely castigated online, tried to sully Brittany’s name by spreading rumors that, “she may be having a transactional relationship with wealthy men.” This was perhaps the very moment that The Bachelor went too far. Name calling, while reprehensible, has been a staple on the franchise since its inception. Igniting potentially life-ruining rumors on national television however, is another story. One Twitter user put it particularly well:

Fans were not alone in their disapproval. The Bachelor himself, Matt James, was similarly put off by the degree of vitriol being spewed by his potential fiancées, wondering why “somebody in the house thinks that they’re gonna be able to bully their way to [his] heart?” He clarified that he would quickly “get to the bottom” of the rumors that “could potentially ruin this woman’s life, family, and career.” Looks like Matt James is in agreement that this behavior has no place in his search for love.

The teaser for tonight’s upcoming episode suggests that these Bachelor Bullies may have some karma coming their way. Tune in at 87c to see how it all unfolds.

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