Bachelor Nation News:
Unsurprisingly, 99.9% of the Bach Naysh (TM @amykinla) media coverage is about Paradise.
This is actually a pretty good summary of what has happened thus far: Saving Bachelor in Paradise (E! Online)
And confirmed this morning: DeMario will not be returning to Paradise (NY Post)
Since I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath to hear my thoughts on the subject, here you go. I said I wasn't going to address it, but what do you know? I changed my mind.
As a fan of this franchise, and a fan of Bachelor in Paradise specifically, I have to admit that I'm glad to hear that it will air this summer. However. I also need to acknowledge that part of that is voyeuristic curiosity. How will the show address what happened? They can't just start over, pretending that these cast members have never met before. They've met. They've been on dates. They've hooked up. This all needs to be handled with transparency and maturity and with absolutely zero statement of blame. We, the audience of The Bachelor/ette/in Paradise do not get to decide who, if anyone, is at fault.
So many parts of this story read as icky to me, and I'm honestly just very sad for the two people directly involved, both of whose lives and reputations are forever affected. The internet is forever. Even if one or both of them decide to retreat into private life, this story will still come up every time they go on a date, apply for a job, or participate in any number of everyday interactions. I'm reminded of some of the tragic stories we've heard in the last few years of former contestants passing away - even those who weren't considered to be fixtures in Bachelor Nation, even people who were eliminated on Night One - each is written about in Us Weekly, People, E!, EW, TMZ, etc. Hopefully Corinne and DeMario live long and happy lives, but in the public psyche, they will both be forever linked to a Bachelor Sex Scandal, and that sucks.
None of us should be pointing fingers, placing blame, slut-shaming, accusing anyone of sexual assault, or expressing gratitude that anyone has been cleared of wrongdoing. We were not there, we were not involved, and our evidence largely consists of social media posts from cast members and articles from entertainment-based media outlets. Be glad that a show you enjoy will be airing this summer, but do not revel in the drama surrounding its production.
And good lord, I haven't even mentioned the fact that a confirmed racist was cast for this season of The Bachelorette. So effing problematic.
Rachel's Bachelorette Blog (People)
I understand Lee cut Kenny’s time short, but the fit Kenny threw was so big it bled into important one-on-one conversations I desperately needed to have with the more patient men. I was honestly disappointed in a lot of the men that night. Yes, I only have two eyes, but if someone is on this journey who doesn’t belong, I’ll figure out that for myself even if it takes me longer than it should.
Chris Harrison’s Blog (Yahoo! TV)
Sharleen Joynt for FLARE Magazine
So, while I genuinely like many of the producers, I have a hard time believing Lee‘s presence on this show is a complete accident. If you’re the sort of involved and informed viewer who even reads these recaps, by now you have surely heard about the uncovering of his two years’ worth of offensive tweets, and Chris Harrison’s subsequent denial that production knew about them. And let me just reiterate that the casting process for this show is intense. The second round, long before you become one of the chosen few to be flown to L.A. to meet producers, is a massive, 30-page background check. I remember filling it out in my apartment in Germany and ticking boxes saying, no, I’d never done porn, and no, I’d never been arrested. I remember scratching my head trying to remember every past address, and which friend I’d entrust to be my high school reference. This stuck out to me as I was 28 at the time and had been out of high school for a decade, and I told almost no one that I was doing this since the odds of making the show at that point were still so low. In that final round in L.A., the questions you’re asked is in the ballpark of many hundreds, mostly in writing, but also in person by producers, the show’s psychiatrist, its doctor and a background check guy. My point is, the process is nothing short of exceedingly thorough, and combing through one’s social media is now a basic step in dating, hiring and yes, reality-TV casting. Even if, when he met producers, he was an Academy Award-deserving actor (which, based on what I’ve seen of him on the show, he isn’t), there is a zero percent chance they didn’t have at least an inkling of Lee’s disturbing points of the view.
While I get the appeal of such guaranteed drama in the form of a white, sexist, racist country singer living in a house full of black men, vying for the affections of a black woman, it makes me ill. It taints something groundbreaking and momentous that goes beyond reality television, and feels very two-steps-forward-one-step-back. And frankly, many of these guys’ personalities are so big, I have no doubt I’d be entertained nonetheless and that drama would unfold naturally by basic personality clashing. (Sad how that concept sounds so innocent now.) Worst of all, it’s not like Lee’s opinions are only his. The show has gotten flak for years for underrepresenting minorities, but trust me, it’s not production. The producers I’ve known are as openminded and forward-thinking as anyone. It’s that a substantial chunk of this franchise’s core viewership isn’t like that. They’ve finally made such a wonderful leap forward, yet infected it with a cancerous contestant who, right now especially, we know is not alone in his backwards beliefs. And even if they’re painting him badly, which they are and should be, they’re still putting him on our screens and giving him airtime with many millions of Americans, some of whom might actually agree with and support him. He doesn’t deserve to receive that, and they don’t deserve to see someone they relate to. Get him off my television.
And don't miss Sharleen's full recap on her website, All the Pretty Pandas
Anyway back to Lee, I find it absolutely infuriating how he smiles at people when they are upset with him. That’s so disrespectful. It shows that he has absolutely no respect for other people’s feelings. Even if Eric and Kenny were getting emotional and starting to raise their voices, he still shouldn’t have to tried to egg on the situation by smirking at them. I would’ve lost my shit if I was Kenny or Eric. Not that I’m condoning the way they handled the situation. I just think Lee was doing his absolute best to add fuel to the fire, rather than trying to resolve the situation.
Ashley I. for Cosmopolitan
It's time for a spelling bee! The guys have to spell words that you’d find in a romance novel, like caress, coitus (Peter got this word wrong, poor thing), Champagne … and squirt. Come on, now, producers. Don't be crude.
Yahoo! TV by Kristen Baldwin
Here’s something interesting: Dean is attempting to explain that Lee doesn’t like black folks, though he’s being a bit too diplomatic for the producer’s liking. “The only people that I’ve seen Lee pick fights with have been people not the people that, uh, he’s been used to seeing on a daily basis… from a cultural perspective.”
“You know exactly what I mean, when I say that,” replies Dean, who is not about to be caught on camera calling Lee “a racist.” (Just leave that to the Internet.)
Vulture by Ali Barthwell
I need to figure out how to get those lil’ emoji hands on the page because I need to ask WHY [hands] IS [hands] LEE [hands] STILL [hands] HERE [hands]?!?!
Possessionista by Dana Weiss
Rachel informs us, as she’s surrounded by a dozen men who look like they’re photoshopped, that smart is sexy. And she’s not wrong. If I were in my 20’s, I would give every potential suitor a spelling test. And an STD panel. The guys are unsurprisingly nervous, with good reason: half of them don’t know the difference between your and you’re. But not Josiah. He’s ready for this because his vocabulary is on another level. He knows words. He has the best words. And like another arrogant blowhard with a lot of words, he wins and I spend the rest of the night rolling my eyes at him.
Hey. Did you even know there’s a contestant named Iggy? Apparently, while I’m drooling over Peter, he’s gathering important intel, and taking it back to Rachel because he knows the only way he’s sticking around is to position himself as her best friend and protector. Unfortunately this is The Bachelorette and not middle school, and everyone knows snitches get stitches. And Iggy is such a bad snitch that after he finishes tattling to Rachel about the other guys, he goes back to the guys and tells on himself.
I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray
Male Model Brady encourages Dean, who considers Lee “intolerable,” to respect the fact that everyone is different. We all have different quartz. Wait…different quarks. No, that’s not it. Jack Stone offers a “cork,” but the three dudes know that can’t be right either. Corks are the free gifts included with every one-on-one to be utilized in memory jars should bachelors make it to fantasy week.
Note: None of these guys participated in the Spelling Bee challenge.
TV Lust by Abby Draper
All 407 of the men on this date arrive to greet Rachel for a day date on a boat. I’m honestly hoping the cast of “Southern Charm” shows up but, different TV network.
Eric then spells “façade” like P-H-Y-S-D-E and depresses everyone about our education system. ….I bet you Physde will be 2018’s most popular name for a boy.
Here to Make Friends with Emma and Claire (Huffington Post)
Bachelorette Live! with Julia Cunningham and Millsy (EW on Sirius)
Bachelorette Party with Juliet Litman, Wesley Moore, and Amy Kaufman (Channel 33)
Coming up Roses with Barstool Chief, Barstool Trent, and Kelly Keegs (Barstool Sports)
Rose Buddies with Griffin and Rachel McElroy
Will you Accept this Rose? with Arden Myrin, Erin Foley, Rob Benedict, and Thomas Middleditch
Reality Steve with Joe Bailey (SPOILERS!)
Broses Before Roses with four dudes in a room. That's actually how they describe it.
Will You Accept this Podcast? with Kelsea and Allison (Bustle)