The Bachelor is being investigated for racial discrimination, leading to the show's creator, Mike Fleiss, leaving the series.
ABC’s popular reality series The Bachelor looks to be in some hot water. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mike Fleiss, the creator of the long-running program, has responded to a report of a racial discrimination probe that resulted in his unexpected departure from the franchise. The series, which premiered over twenty years ago, has been the subject of ongoing discussions regarding representation and inclusion in recent years.
On Thursday, Variety published a report stating Warner Bros. Television, the company behind ABC’s dating franchise, investigated Mike Fleiss after receiving complaints of bullying from several employees. The investigation was reportedly conducted by a third party and involved both current producers and former product staff. As a result of the investigation, Fleiss exited The Bachelor franchise.
After the allegations of bullying surfaced and led to his departure, Fleiss confessed that the series hadn’t kept up with the pace of change since its creation in 2002. He acknowledged that although progress had been made to increase diversity over the past five years, more could have been done. Notably, it was only in 2021 that The Bachelor featured its first black lead, Matt James.
Despite allegations of bullying, Fleiss claimed that he had received numerous uplifting messages upon announcing his departure, suggesting that his behavior toward employees was more positive than negative. He will still be credited as the creator of The Bachelor despite leaving, according to Variety.
The Bachelor has captured the hearts and attention of audiences since its premiere over two decades ago. The series features a single man who dates multiple women intending to find a long-term romantic partner. Over the course of a season, the bachelor goes on group and individual dates with the contestants, and at the end of each episode, he chooses who to give a rose to, indicating that he wants to continue their relationship.
One of the reasons The Bachelor has become so beloved is that it is both escapist and relatable. Viewers can easily get swept up in the romantic storylines and the drama between contestants while also seeing elements of their dating lives reflected in the show. The series is also known for its over-the-top dates and locations, which provide a fun and glamorous backdrop to the action.
The show’s popularity continues to grow every year, with the latest season hitting a multiplatform ratings high. Viewers just can’t seem to help themselves from eagerly tuning in to see who will win the bachelor’s heart each season. The fact that the initial series has spawned numerous spinoffs, including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise, is a testament to how admired the program is.
The Bachelor Season 27 premiered on January 23 and concluded on March 27, with Zach Shallcross, a 26-year-old sales executive from California, choosing to propose to 27-year-old Kaity Biggar. The two lovebirds plan to move in together in Austin this summer and marry in 2025. The hit program is set to return with its 28th season next February.