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In this episode, Chelsea breaks down several issues with The Bachelor franchise, from the extreme cost of going on the show to the workplace harassment issues it has perpetrated. Script written by Princess Weekes:

Bachelor revenue:

Class action lawsuit:

Shawn Ryan quote:

Farm Hunk SNL skit:

Final rose winners by race:

Rachel Lindsay season ratings:

Lee Garrett tweets:

Victoria Fuller controversy:

Hannah Brown incidents:

Cost of being cast:

Couples data:

2-year ring rule:

Couples still together:

Becky Steenhoek interview:

Corrinne Olympios interview:

Bachelor in Paradise investigation:

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Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is sponsored by If you're looking to make your own workflow more effective and less opaque, is the perfect platform for many fields. Project management, marketing teams, sales and CRM, software development, and more. It's totally flexible, where anyone can easily create or customize the solutions your team needs for any aspect of your work. Our COO, Annie, finds it very useful for managing accounts. As you can see, her dashboard is customized for the project she's working on, which you can do with yours. It simplifies planning, organizing, and collaborating across different teams and hierarchies. And with all your work in one place, ensures you never forget a deadline or have to find key details for a project which are lost in a lengthy email thread. With every team members work out in the open, it's always clear who is responsible for what, eliminating confusion in your work day. So click the link in our description to get started with today. And today, I am here to talk about one of the most pressing and relevant cultural issues of our moment, which is that Bachelor Nation is back this week with the new season of The Bachelorette. So of course we wanted to do one of our favorite things here at TFD, which is dissecting the problems with the reality show. The Bachelor franchise has been around since 2002, with 25 seasons of the flagship show, dozens of spin-offs, and countless failed engagements. And it's also a huge moneymaker for ABC, bringing in $86 million in advertising revenue in 2017. So while its viability as a sheer business proposition basically ensures that The Bachelor franchise is never going anywhere any time soon, it is worth interrogating some of the shocking and horrifying truths behind this quote, unquote "reality show".


Number one is the show's own diversity issues. If I know anything about The Bachelor, it is that it has long been an extremely racially homogeneous, very white show, that will often make a huge spectacle and event over any of its, quite honestly, lackluster attempts at true diversity. However, unlike many television shows, its problem with diversity goes well beyond just bad PR. In 2012, two would-be contestants brought a class action lawsuit against the show for under-representing minorities. Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson both tried out for the show and didn't make it, which wouldn't have been such a noteworthy issue if in 2012, it hadn't been emblematic of a bigger problem with the show. Attorneys for Claybrooks and Johnson, who both tried out for the show and didn't make it, argued that their lawsuit underscores the significant barriers that people of color continue to face in media and the broader marketplace. The judge dismissed the case, saying that the casting was under First Amendment protection, but also stated that the plaintiffs goals were laudable. And in a 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show's creator claimed that he would like to cast more people of color on the show, but for whatever reason, they don't come forward. I wonder why that could be. Shawn Ryan, a producer who created The Shield, called the show's practices "straight up racism." "They just don't think America will watch a black bachelor or root for mixed race marriages," Ryan tweeted. And the problem is so bad that in the SNL skit "Farm Hunk," Blake Shelton impersonates the season's Bachelor, Iowa Farmer Chris Soules, saying he's going to eliminate probably the two black girls plus one of the curly haired ones. I mean, I don't know how many women want Blake Shelton anyway, but take that as you will. And in 2016, it was reported that among the 19 women who have won the final rose, the only non-white winners were Tessa Horst and Catherine Giudici. Both have been biracial Asian white. Between 2009 and 2011, no Black men were cast on The Bachelorette and no black woman appeared as contestants on The Bachelor from 2009 to 2012. And even when there have been more attempts at diversity, colorism is still a huge factor in how people of color are represented on the show. It has a huge impact on what networks and those in charge perceive as watchable. For example, when Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette season concluded in 2017, it attracted an average of 7.6 million viewers, which was down from 8.4 million viewers the year prior when the show featured a white lead. This was the show's least popular season since 2010. In an interview with the New York Times, creator Mike Fleiss said he found the ratings decline in an "incredibly disturbing and kind of Trumpish way. How else are you going to explain the fact that she's down in the ratings, when- black or white- she was an unbelievable Bachelorette? It revealed something about our fan." And part of the problem is that these attempts at diversity are basically a one and done situation, in which the performance of an individual season is used to make sweeping judgments about the performance of non-white cast members in general. There can be tons of seasons with different white people who fare in different ways and are reacted to differently by the audience, and yet when you only have one example to go off of with a non-white lead, you're often left with an insanely high pressure to deliver that white counterparts are never faced with. And if there is any truth to the statements producers have made in the past, that there just simply aren't enough people of color coming forward, perhaps some of what could be due to our second disturbing truth, which is the level of racism amongst the contestants.


So while the Bachelor shows have perpetuated a pretty strong level of racist practices, in terms of hiring and featuring non-white people on their show, the contestants themselves also have a pretty terrible track record when it comes to their own racial sensitivities. Earlier this year, contestant Rachel Kirkconnell made the news when an old photo of her plantation dress-up resurfaced and Chris Harrison fumbled at discussing issues of race with the latest season, causing him to eventually leave the show. But that is far from the only time that a contestant has done something that the 2012 media would put as racially charged. One of the male contestants said about Lindsay, "I'm ready to go black and I'm never going back." Yikes. And when male contestant, Lee Garrett, was eliminated, fans discovered a tweet from him, which read, "What's the difference between the NAACP and the KKK? Wait for it. One has the sense of shame to cover their racist ass faces." That charmer also clashed with a black contestant, Kenny, called him aggressive and then shamelessly lied to the Bachelorette about what had transpired between the two of them. Fans also discovered a photo of Victoria Fuller, who came in third place on season 24 of The Bachelor, modeling with a white lives matter cap, which led to Fuller being pulled from a Cosmo cover. It should be noted though that it's been reported that what she actually modeled for was a Marlin Lives Matter organization focused on preventing white and blue marlin from being over-fished, which used white lives matter and blue lives matter messaging on its promotional shirts and hats. But, I mean OK. We can give that the benefit of a doubt and say that that's true, but even if it is both the company and the people wearing the white and blue lives matter hats just really need to rethink every step of that process. And also listen, I'm just going to go out here and say it, because the fact that they're white and blue, with blue meaning police, I don't know. That's very suspect to me. Looks like Marlins are canceled. And Hannah Brown, of The Bachelorette season 15, during an Instagram Live event in 2020, was singing the lyrics DaBaby's "Rockstar" and saying the n-word. And when fans did comment on her live, taking her to task for that use, she apologized while simultaneously laughing and doubting she even said it. And in 2021, she also came under criticism for a photo of her surfacing which featured her in an antebellum dress on a plantation. What is in the water? Southern sorority girls. OK. I'm being informed that it's the phenomenon of southern sorority girls coming on this show. But I just feel like what is the upshot of doing a photo shoot on a plantation these days? Come on. We got to be past that. How are there so many people with plantation-- also like the Old West photo shoots when you go to like Six Flags and get to dress up in the costumes. The Bachelor has a sourcing issue. And all of this is not to say anything of the constant microaggressions that take place within the actual filming of the show.


But even if you manage to clear all of the racial barriers to becoming a star of The Bachelor, there is also the astronomical cost of being on the show. Being on The Bachelor is pretty much like any reality show in the sense that you're not being paid for the most part, and going on the show is a complete gamble in terms of the impact that it will have on your life. And in addition to not being paid, and all of the upfront costs of actually getting cast on the show, you are expected to do things like provide your own wardrobe and makeup until maybe you make it till the final rose. As one former contestant, Sarah Herron put it, "You spend way more than you normally would, because you know you're going on TV. And you may be meeting your future husband so you feel like you need to dress to impress." Jillian Harris, a former contestant turned Bachelorette wrote on her blog, "I had re-mortgaged my house and spent something like $8,000 just on clothing." And there's also a massive gender division in terms of what is expected to be spent from contestants. Women will spend anywhere from $1800 to $8,000 in preparation for the show. While men on the other hand, will spend between $300 and $5300, and that is mostly clothes, gym memberships, and a touch up. While female contestants will get lash extensions, highlights, eyebrow work, facials, and gel nail polish which all adds up. And contestant, Marikh Mathias made sure she would not run out of eyelashes. "I spent like $70 on eyelashes," she said. "I just bought a bunch because I was like, I don't want to run out and not be able to get them." And in total, she ended up about $3,500. In addition to the pressures of being viewed by millions on television and potentially meeting your future spouse, there's also the pressure on these contestants to parlay this experience into a longer viability as a kind of influencer, even if they don't end up with the Neil Lane ring. While season 16 winner and Los Angeles-based model, Courtney Robertson wore all designer labels, season 14 winner, Vienna Girardi, wore all jean short cut-offs. To quote whose line is it anyway, the points don't even matter. The idea of mortgaging your house, going into credit card debt, quitting your job, and potentially leveraging all kinds of other financial distress for something that is a complete risk sounds like a silly move financially, and it objectively is. But the potential of a true payoff is so high that every season tons of people are willing to risk it.


Number four is that for all of their trouble, few couples actually end up making it. There have been a combined 51 seasons of Bachelor-related TV to date. While it promises the idea of finding lifelong love, back in 2015 it was shared that in fact only two-thirds of the season even end with proposals. Then out of those proposals only 5 have led to marriage with the Bachelorette having a better success rate at 30% versus the Bachelor at 11%. Additionally, while many couples get engaged on the show, with almost every single season ending with a proposal, with an often complimentary Neil Lane ring costing up to six figures, that doesn't mean they get to keep the ring if they split immediately. It's actually in their contracts that they only get to keep the ring if they make it past the two year mark of their engagement. Listen, if that shit is $100,000, I'm holding it out in a sham engagement and then pawning it. Of the elite, elite crew of couples from The Bachelor who are still together, we have first ever Bachelorette Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter. He's a firefighter who's never turned into an influencer. We stan. Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock and Chris Sigfried, Bachelor Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo, Bachelor Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham, Bachelorette Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark, Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert, Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon, Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk, Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt, Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Dean Unglert, Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour. We were really getting some Christian girl autumn spellings in there, so I assume some of them might have some problematic tweets in their past as well. As impressive as that list may sound, it's worth remembering that the vast, vast majority of Bachelor franchise romances die out soon after the cameras stop rolling.


The last stop on our bummer train takes us to sexual harassment Avenue.  Something that is incredibly important to remember here is that while the Bachelor is a dating show, it is still fundamentally a workplace. For being a workplace, it is one that is seemed to have an extraordinary amount of sexual harassment. In 2017, Becky Steenhoek, a former segment producer who worked on both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, sued Warner Brothers and multiple producers for, among other complaints, sexual harassment. Steenhoek said that five cast members and executive producers asked her questions, including is your vagina shaved? Have you ever fondled testicles before? And have you ever sat under a shower faucet or touched yourself to masturbate? According to Steenhoek, the producers asking her impertinent questions noticed her discomfort, observing that she was blushing or that her ears were turning red. Steenhoak alleges that such indicators of discomfort only egged them on. As she put it, it was a fun time for them to see me get embarrassed. She alleges in the lawsuit that when she complained about their conduct to cast producer, Caitlin Stapleton, Stapleton replied this is the way of the industry and the world that we work in. This is their way of showing that they're trying to bond with you. Love yourself. Bachelor in Paradise had similar issues come to light when DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios were both reportedly heavily intoxicated during an encounter that prompted a lot of issues on how the show protects its contestants. Olympios claims that she was a victim while Jackson denied the allegations. As she said, "I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened. Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production." In the end, an internal investigation was conducted regarding allegations of sexual misconduct on the set of The Bachelor in Paradise and it resumed production within two weeks determining that no sexual misconduct had taken place. It's also worth noting that on other franchises in other countries, such as the UK, alcohol consumption on set is heavily regulated, while on the US franchises producers are all but pouring alcohol down the contestants throats in hopes that it will make for compelling television. As the die hard Real Housewives of New York fan myself, we can all see what that kind of behavior leads to when you're on a show like that season after season, i.e. Several of the cast members now being sober. When it comes to misconduct in the context of relationships, we would be remiss to forget Colton Underwood, who is currently on his redemption tour with apparently an upcoming show with Gus Kenworthy and who is living his best life on Instagram posting his newly liberated thirst traps. Because while his story may seem like a sunset ride into a perfect happy ending, we would be remiss not to mention his recent restraining order from his ex-fiancee from his season of the show, Cassie Randolph, whom he stalked to the point of putting a tracker on her car to follow her movements. Going to go ahead and say we don't need a fluffy Netflix show from this man.


In the end, all reality television is extremely problematic. There's just no two ways about it. I've been recently watching a show on TLC called, Seeking Sister Wives and I have no explanation. It's so bad, but so good. I just love it. Just give me Mormon shit. Anyway, all reality television is problematic and all reality television comes with many asterisks in terms of any attempts that it makes to portray itself as in any way empowering or inclusive. With the Bachelor franchise in particular being as successful, ubiquitous, and lucrative as it is, it is important to actually take a critical lens to this show that we're watching which is in many ways, both consciously and unconsciously, influencing how we think about tons of things, including but not limited to finding the loves of our life. If what you're looking for is to find a more productive way to get your work done, I highly recommend you check out at the link in our description. As always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the subscribe button and come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Goodbye.