Below Deck, Reality TV

#BelowDeck: The Life of Rhylee

When Rhylee Gerber stepped on board this season of Bravo’s Below Deck, she was confident she had an advantage as a junior member of the yacht crew. She, unlike her crew mates, had actually been a captain on a ship. She will go on to remind us of this fact continually throughout this season, in each of her confessionals.

Ballsy and from Alaska, where the population of Y chromosomal individuals outweighs the XX, she was used to being in charge and was easily “one of the boys.” However, a fishing ship (which can be fraught with its own dangers, requiring a capable captain) is completely different than a super yacht chartering guests.

When Rhylee is told to respect rank and ends up arguing with her superiors, it is difficult for her as someone who has been in charge and is used to being the one to make decisions.

Some viewers feel that Rhylee is a woman surrounded by men who are treating her poorly, and as the only female in that particular group, she is in the right to stand up for herself. Others opine that – just like Chief Stew Kate Chastain and Captain Lee said to one another privately- Rhylee needs to be mindful of the ship’s hierarchy, listen more and respect those with yachting experience.

It is always difficult, as well as frustrating, to come to a job in a junior position when you have been the boss in a related profession. If we were to take genders out of the equation, we could easily say Rhylee needs to step in line and realize she is not a senior member of the crew now. The problem is that viewers have noticed some misogyny with regard to how crew mates Chandler, Ross and Ashton talk (down?) to and about Rhylee.

The audience is divided with some saying “poor Rhylee” and others positively frustrated with her, wishing she would swallow her pride and respect rank.

What are your thoughts?

How do you feel Rhylee’s male crew mates are treating her, fairly or unfairly?

Are you Team Rhylee or Team Everybody Else?

(Photo courtesy of Bravo TV/NBC Universal)

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Big Brother CBS, Uncategorized

#BB20: Interview with JC Mounduix

After a “YATUS” from interviews with reality stars, I was really yearning to write something about the riveting show that completely usurped my summer. Make that: many past summers as well. Annually, I look forward to Big Brother to see a mix of personalities mesh together and clash in a stifling dry-aired “house”, a portion of the CBS lot in the Studio City district of Los Angeles, CA.

Even my kids cannot properly feign disinterest when it comes to the show – although they are mainly waiting for Zingbot to arrive and roast the house guests.

There is only a limited outdoor area for relaxation time between competitions, which are designed to whittle down the houseguests until two are left. Then a jury (of evicted houseguests) votes on the winner.

I never expected to enjoy this past season of the CBS hit – a monumental one in light of Les Moonves stepping down and the fate of host Julie Chen, Moonves’s wife, uncertain – as much as I did. I thought nothing could compare to the epic Season 16, my singled out “absolute favorite” featuring Zach Rance (although he did not win, he won my heart – even more so than fan fave Frankie Grande, singer Ariana’s brother).  I still use quotes from that season in my day to day vernacular. My kids go around yelling “You fruit loop dingus!”

However, the players on BB20, particularly the way they excelled at physical competitions and social manipulations, won me over….as did their dynamics as housemates that would become friends.

One houseguest who received a lot of attention from the viewing audience was JC Mounduix. Diminutive in stature, but stalwart in strength and built of sheer muscle, JC made up for his height with his dynamism, tenacity, as well as ebullient and larger than life persona.

While he was highly entertaining to watch, he was also deemed controversial. Kept away from access to all media, news outlets and electronic devices, he had no idea that some of his actions were seen as highly inappropriate and would garner headlines. TMZ ran several articles, so people who had never watched the show now knew about JC.

BB Superfans (as they are called) would also point out regularly that he had not won a single competition – that is, until the very end, securing a Head of Household spot that took him to the “Final 3.” When this long awaited win finally occurred, Mounduix notably stated to Chen that he won the competition when he needed to win most. However, in an interview with me, he insists that he was always trying hard and spent an exorbitant amount of time continually strategizing. In every competition, he gave it his all.

Following is our discussion:

Hey JC, I really enjoyed watching this season a lot. You were entertaining and you made it incredibly far – especially for someone who didn’t win most of the competitions. One particularly noteworthy scene was when you used the term “yatus” and had Tyler scratching his head until it dawned on him that you were actually saying “hiatus.”

We know that your native language is Spanish, that you are fluent in English and have an impressive vocabulary, so it was great seeing you laugh at yourself later on. You had that amazing ability to never take yourself too seriously.

Now, more importantly, are you surprised you made it to the final 3?

Well, in real life I’ve always had a good social game. So, I was convinced I was going to do well socially. In that way, I felt confident and you should know that I also felt that way about physical competitions – based on watching past seasons!

Well, oh boy. Once I got to the Big Brother house, I found out I was with an extraordinary, super-athletic and capable group of people. I was like ‘shit…how can I compete with all these people?’ I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was because I didn’t account for the lack of sleep and lack of proper nutrition. Good sleep and good food are really what fuel me and they are what I need in order to do well physically.

What you don’t realize at home is how these conditions are and how they can impact performance. The thing is that I was always very outgoing, so I had that to my advantage.

I would mentally work out every move and thought a lot about what I would say to people.

I also really did think of how I could win the physical competitions and what I could do differently. I was as strategic as you could possibly imagine, thinking of every single move and every conversation beforehand. I would run through things before I went to bed at night and I was always thinking. It pissed me off that I wasn’t winning competitions because I thought that when I got out of the game, people would call me a ‘floater’. My fear was that no one would realize how much thought and effort I had put into things.

On the positive side with that, I wasn’t picked to play a veto until Sam’s HOH on day 30. After that, I went a long time without being picked for veto competitions.

Then…I DID win something and it was a win that really counted and secured me in the top 3. But I’d really like for people to realize that when you’re barely eating and barely sleeping, it’s even more challenging than it looks on TV.

You made it pretty clear to the viewing audience that you saw Fessy as….well, you called him a ‘puppet’, but frankly, as an idiot. Watching things back now, do you see him as smarter than that?

I truly think Fessy is a very good player and initially, I wanted to work with him, but he’s not the smartest player. I backed away when I saw he was playing an emotional game because that doesn’t work with me.

Here’s the thing you have to understand: We are locked in a house with nothing to do. We are sitting around looking at each other’s faces all day long. So we said so many things just to have a conversation. We all said some things to be a little bit ‘extra’. For me, it was 99 days in the house with food that is the same over and over. It’s not healthy. I probably wouldn’t say some of those things under normal everyday conditions.

With Fessy, I think he fell in love with Hayleigh and then he had her back 100 percent. At that point, I knew I couldn’t rely on him. I didn’t think he acted wisely or strategically with Swaggy. Then later, I knew he was probably making top four alliances with Hayleigh because it was an emotional move. I was out.

You noticed Showmances – not only the one between Fessy and Hayleigh, but between Tyler and Angela – and those seemed to really bother you.

I didn’t actually know if Fessy and Hayleigh were in a technical ‘showmance’, but I did know I couldn’t trust him at all when I saw how close they were. These showmances can distract from playing strategically and with the right mindset. It didn’t make sense what Fessy did to Kaitlyn. That was my wakeup call. He used the veto on Hayleigh which led to Kaitlyn’s eviction because of his feelings for Hayleigh.

Tyler tried to act far less intelligent than he was, but you saw something special in him. What was it that made you want to align with him, and did you fall for his act at all?

Early on, I felt that Tyler was someone I wanted to work with because I wanted to work with someone quiet, who I could trust – well, as much as you can trust in this game! I recognized that quietness and I liked him and wanted to work with him from day 2. That was even before he started winning competitions.

You may have seen some things with Tyler that you thought were sneaky, but the truth is that we had lots and lots of conversations and there were things he never repeated. No matter which way his loyalty went, he never threw me under the bus. I was also trying to save him as much as I could in conversations with the other houseguests. I was busy trying to convince people he wasn’t as smart as he was when we had conversations. I knew he was smarter, but I sort of used Tyler’s strategy and how he was trying to portray himself when talking to others…to protect him.

Now I have to ask the uncomfortable question. There were numerous headlines about you while you were in the house. The articles spoke of sexual assault and mentioned that you had groped Tyler. What was your reaction when you found out about the coverage? What do you have to say about it now?

First of all, we were a family there. We were united and going through this crazy situation and I felt these were my brothers and sisters. You get frustrated while you’re in that house. All of us had bad nights of sleep with nightmares. When I was having a nightmare and slept near different people, they came over to comfort me…gave me a kiss. Rachel would play with me to make me feel better. We really had this family feel -well, except for the two couples in a showmance – and never had any tensions. That night that was written about…Tyler was moving around and I thought he was having a nightmare. I tried to give him a kiss on the shoulder and it wasn’t a big deal. I only found out after that live feeders…or others…said they saw it differently.

At the time, production just said to be careful because you’re watched all the time and people are sensitive, but it was such a NO big deal conversation. I was shocked when I heard what was going on. I was like ‘what the fuck? This is what people are going to focus on?’

Tyler was also completely surprised by it and he didn’t think anything of it in the house. Now that we’re out of the house, Tyler is literally texting me every day and we’re great friends. The other cast mates were like ‘What The Fuck?’ about that whole thing.

I feel like they (the public) were looking for something. I really do highly respect things when it comes to sexual harassment. I always have. I feel strongly about the things that are wrong being wrong and unacceptable. But, don’t go around calling this sexual harassment!

Someone opens their mouth and starts something and then it gets carried away – but that really was NOT the situation!

Knowing about the CBS (Les Moonves) news now, it feels like maybe this was more of a focus and people went looking for something.

Another subject that came up among viewers was how Kaitlyn flirted and was touchy with guys in the house. Yet, she had a serious boyfriend at home. He ended up breaking up with her as a result of the show.

We’re super close friends right now and she told me all these crazy stories of how things were blown out of proportion. We talk a lot.

You get very close locked in the house with nothing to do for most of the days. There are no movies to watch or things like that. We just have each other. I know a lot of the houseguests said a lot of things that made the news, but it wasn’t ever malicious. We were all killing time and we are all friends. I talk to everyone now except Sam, but as soon as she gets back to reality a little bit, I’m totally going to call her. The rest of us are hanging out and I know Sam is a little special…so I’m waiting for things to settle down and then I’m going to call her.

You and Bayleigh had a heated exchange when you spoke about certain words being offensive. How is your relationship with Bayleigh now?

That whole thing was rectified that day, I thought. It was taken out of control. Words can be offensive when used malicious ways, but I had no malicious intentions. It was a heated conversation and I thought that everything was resolved on that day. When I heard about the reaction and it being in the news, I thought that people are looking for anything to get angry. Bayleigh and I are good with each other. We hung out in Vegas after the show ended. I reached out to her after her miscarriage to tell her how sorry I am for what she went through. We will hopefully be getting together again soon to do something really fun, as part of a group, this winter.

You have too much time on your hands in the house and you get moody, but once we all got back to real life….Well, we love each other. Right now as I’m on the phone with you, Rachel is calling me!

I was talking with some members of the Bravo Junkies Facebook group and they mentioned that you and Kaitlyn are living together now?

We have the same agent and we get along really well. So we’re looking for an apartment to move into together as roommates. She and I have the strongest bond.

Kaitlyn says to me that everything happens for a reason and I really believe that – I think that explains how we are where we are now and why we’re close.

It was heartbreaking for viewers to hear that your family was not accepting of you being gay, and that your relationship with them was strained. Kaycee spoke about some struggles that she had with her mother’s acceptance. As two members of the LGBTQ community, viewers felt for both of you when you discussed your situations. Has your family come around at all, and have they reached out since the show ended?

Sorry, I’m not allowed to answer ANYTHING family related. I’m really sorry.

I understand. Moving on: One member of that same Facebook group, the Bravo Junkies, wanted me to ask about a minion video that you filmed, something Evel Dick shared on his Twitter feed….(pause) Oh, ok. I actually just went to watch it and I’ll refrain from getting into the details, but I guess I’ve got to ask about it.

The minion video was made when I was in college. My friends were annoying me, asking me to get ready to go to the clubs and I made the video to annoy them. We have that kind of friendship. It was never a real sexual thing. Evel Dick needed the attention and the likes, so he posted it, and I honestly think that was funny.

My readers can Google it if they want, I guess.

My friend Sara and I were talking about how it was really funny when you spoke about making the houseguests heavy foods to fatten them up. I think that was a highlight of the season. How serious were you about putting them at a disadvantage in that regard?

The cooking was a joke! It really wasn’t my strategy. I’m not that stupid (laughs).

Thank you so much for speaking with me, JC. I said I would only take 20 minutes of your time, but I’ve exceeded that. Definitely go and call Rachel back now!

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Reality TV

#RealityTV: Blind Item #GuessWho

This reality star is loved by some and absolutely loathed by others among the viewing audience. Then there are those who just love to hate this person and desperately want to see them on their screens seasonally.

However…don’t be so quick to sympathize with this individual and their sob story of being scorned and snubbed. At an event months ago, cast mates witnessed familial dynamics that didn’t sit right with them. Warnings were issued beforehand, only to be rejected. There’s much more to this star’s story than meets the eye – which is probably why they are getting a head start on speaking to media before network PR gives cast mates the official go-ahead.

Guess Who.

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Below Deck, Reality TV

#BelowDeck: Storminess on Land

This season of Bravo’s Below Deck is off to a great start. I personally prefer Kate Chastain’s cool demeanor as “Chief Stew” to Hannah Ferrier’s penchant for flying off the handle. Hannah tends to get a little too snippy and snooty with her crew for my liking, which is why I view Kate as a breath of fresh air. It is totally a subjective thing, a personal preference and you can feel free to disagree: Kate is more my speed.

I also had an incredible interview with Kate for Huffington Post during last season of Below Deck. We came away from that discussion with mutual admiration and respect, and exchanged some tweets afterwards. I’ll admit, that probably makes me somewhat biased and in Lisa Rinna fashion: I own it, baby.

So it’s been disheartening to hear about an overall miserable experience with Kate!

A source conveys that this is a season that resulted in more bad blood than any prior season of Below Deck. A myriad of simmering resentments have made their way over to social media, so look for clues there.

Furthermore, if my sources are correct, I only see it getting worse from episode to episode. Keep in mind that we are only at the start of the current season.

Previews indicate someone will be fired. There is already some speculation (let me emphasize that it is not confirmed at this point) that the “offense” – if that can accurately characterize what transpired – could be as grave as what put the kibosh on Real Housewives of Auckland.

(In that case, a cast mate uttered something racist that launched a scandal inviting legal involvement.)

It is my hope that the Below Deck debacle is NOT actually that grave and that these rumors will be disproven.

At this rate, I would not be surprised if we have a no-show at the upcoming reunion due to heightened residual bitterness. You might come away entirely sympathetic towards a slighted character, feeling their reactions are justified

…or you might not.

The yacht may have docked months ago, but on land there is continued storminess, and Twitter has only added fuel to the fire.

Could this scenario involve one of the “Friends”? Or is it someone outside of that subgroup?

Update: Bravo enthusiasts have helped to find these images. It appears as if an alleged “replacement crew member” (after havoc reportedly ensued) is a young woman named Laura Betancourt. She is spotted in photos with cast members.

For clues about the unknown, be on top of who follows who, and always read Kate Chastain’s tweets.

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#RHONY, Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHONY: ‘A Star is Born’ with Babs Kavovit? Looks Like Everyone Is Getting Along (For Now)

The ladies of Real Housewives of New York seem to turn on a dime and do astounding 180s on the regular. Everyone was feuding last we checked. Dorinda Medley and Sonja Morgan were at each other’s throats, and the Queen B (Bethenny Frankel, of course) was on the outs with everyone except Luann De Lesseps and Sonja when the RHONY reunion was filmed.

Well, that was then and this is now. Today, it seems the dysfunctional clique – sans the recently ousted Carole Radziwill- is living it up in the Berkshires and having a grand ole time filming RHONY’s upcoming season.

With them to liven up the party is new “Housewife” Barbara Kovovit, a construction CEO who was caught on camera disparaging Lu and Tom’s ill-fated union two seasons ago. Her predictions were proven to be correct, but now it seems all is forgiven from that awkward hot mic moment.

I am always curious as to how producers determine who will make a great “Real Housewife” and there must be something particularly alluring about Barbara when it comes to Shed Media and Bravo’s standards.

I think one major draw is that she is someone who is greatly committed to her work, has made a name for herself professionally, and because of that, can confidently go toe to toe (and tit for tat) with Bethenny.

Expect that duo to get along impressively for at least Babs’s initial season, giving new meaning to the phrase “A Star is Born.”

In the meantime, check out Bethenny’s Instagram stories from the Berkshires. The notorious love-hate dynamic between her and Ramona is currently set to “love.”

…Or at least that’s how things appear on social media – for today.

This goes without saying, but I’ll utter the terribly banal phrase anyway: STAY TUNED.

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Bravo TV

#BravoTV: Women Supporting Women? Maybe Not…in This Case

Southern Charm got a little too dark and convoluted behind the scenes several months ago. At that point in time, I decided I would write about other shows and take a hiatus from a subject that provoked far too much ire on social media. (I mean, hey, that’s what politics is for and I don’t intend to stop tweeting about national developments.) With Reality TV and the myriad of fantastic blogs devoted to Bravo TV shows, I felt I could pick and choose what to write about versus what to read about. I would refer friends to my favorite websites when there was something I didn’t want to touch. I intended to adhere to my resolution about Southern Charm, but a recent development now compels me to weigh in:

Months ago, I interviewed TRav accusers Ashley Perkins and Nanny Dawn. After a lengthy police investigation, an arrest was made earlier this week. What some are not aware of is that investigators had unbricked Dawn’s old cell phone as part of their investigation. (Police actually use the word “dumped” rather than unbricked. The latter is modern slang.) The discovery was that it contained incriminating data against Nanny Dawn’s former employer.

Fans of Southern Charm who thought nothing would ever come of the reported “ongoing investigation” were shocked by news of the arrest, but apparently one shouldn’t underestimate an old cell phone’s prowess. After sifting through messages, there was sufficient evidence to make an arrest.

Now, in a strange twist, accuser Ashley Perkins is turning on accuser Nanny Dawn (Dawn requested that her last name be withheld from all media reports).

Perkins claims that after speaking to Dawn for several hours months ago, she doubted the other woman’s credibility and the consistency of Dawn’s details.

Interestingly, in her interview with me, Nanny Dawn credited Ashley Perkins as the inspiration for coming out and disclosing her own experience. Since both had seemingly taken a stand against sexual assault, it is odd that one would now, seemingly, turn against the other.

Fans of the show are questioning Ashley Perkins’ motives from the very beginning, wrestling with her credibility and whether this about-face is the result of a monetary settlement reached with TRav.

This story is still developing….

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Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Nation, The Bachelor, Women

Ashley Spivey on Making #TheBachelor Franchise Better

Ashley Spivey, Twitter

If you’re an avid fan of ABC’s The Bachelor, you might know the name Ashley Spivey. You may have been familiar with her as a contender on the 2011 season, Brad Womack‘s second go as Bachelor (he had already been in the starring role in 2007, but left without a leading lady). Or, she may have only recently come to your attention due to her unique social media activity and interviews on Reality Steve‘s podcast. This is because Spivey has unintentionally become a sort of whistleblower, calling out injustices and controversial aspects of The Bachelor franchise.

Spivey truly didn’t set out to become this person, but as the moderator of a subreddit forum about the franchise, and as a survivor of sexual assault, she’s passionate about how today’s contestants should be treated, represented and protected.

Early on in the process during her season, Spivey detected her brand of ardent feminism wasn’t a match for Womack. “I saw him as wanting to be more in the ‘traditional’ role as a man,” she relates. Spivey had applied for the show after catching her ex boyfriend – who had left a career in finance to pursue one in acting – in bed with another woman. She thought it would be poetic justice to star on television before he ever got the chance. Her father had just passed away and her mood was glum, but she was ready to take a chance on something new and out of character. She completed the lengthy application despite being someone who “doesn’t love being on camera.”

Of course, producers loved the New York based nanny’s feisty backstory. “I think they called me 30 minutes after reviewing my application,” she half jokes.

Her employers at the time weren’t so keen about their child’s caretaker starring on a reality dating show, so once dismissed of these responsibilities (“I thought I was done with nannying and at that point, didn’t envision going back to it like I eventually did.”), Spivey was free to meet the man whose affections two dozen other women would be vying for.

Had producers not followed up regularly with her, she probably would have dropped the ball, she concedes.

Like her friend Sharleen Joynt (Juan Pablo’s season), Spivey homed in on the antiquated aspects of The Bachelor process early on. She recognized and internally recoiled from the reactionary. She was a “one and done” in her mind as far as being on reality TV, but after her season, joined the millions of viewers to opine on social media. There she became a shrewd and critical observer. Now happily married, Spivey remains committed to bettering the process for the singles of Bachelor Nation.

In the years leading up to #MeToo, #TimesUp and women calling out men for bad behavior, more eyeballs landed on Spivey’s Twitter timeline. Social media platforms hadn’t been as popular when she was a contestant back in 2011, but now people were weighing in with alacrity. Like other critics of the ABC franchise, she was not a fan of the public’s shaming of the first Bachelorette to have sex before fantasy suite dates and made that viewpoint known. This resonated with others who replied and responded. Bloggers and reporters focused on the flaws within the franchise as a direct result. Spivey’s tweets took the position of: People seem to take it easy on the men, so why are women being slammed?

She posted and blogged about these types of injustices and her following continued to amass, even more so after pointing public attention to the bad behaviors of The Bachelorette contenders hoping Becca Kufrin would choose them.

As a former contestant, “Bachelor Nation” was paying attention to Spivey, though she was met with polarizing reaction due to the political diversity of that audience. Some of the more conservative viewers were upset when after following a tip, she looked into and verified the strange Instagram activity of Bachelorette contender Garrett Yrigoyen (comprised of “likes” on offensive and racist posts and memes).

When blogger Reality Steve got word of Lincoln Adim‘s battery assault conviction, Spivey arranged for her sister in law to pick up the court documents in person. “Because I manage a Bachelor Subreddit forum, I need to make sure the conversations there don’t get out of hand and that false information isn’t being spread,” she explains, “I also feel that these contestants deserve the very best and it upsets me that there wasn’t a better vetting process in place to protect Becca.”

Spivey’s successful efforts obtaining proof from the courtroom had a greater impact: Adim did not attend The Men Tell All episode.

“They could have done much better than that,” Spivey insists. “Becca should not have been placed in a position where she’d have to choose between controversial men. Producers could also have chosen to address the Lincoln scandal and discuss what is not acceptable during The Men Tell All…They also could have edited out a handful of Lincoln’s earlier scenes.”

Producer Elan Gale did reach out to Spivey to let her know the franchise had a pretty solid selection process. With regard to Yrigoyen, he expressed, there is no way to determine what a person is “liking” unless one follows that person and goes through every single post. Spivey understands how difficult and tedious it is, but something she tells me about herself should be modeled by production: “I always double and triple check things – it’s something I hear from multiple people that you’ll eventually end up reading about – before addressing it.”

Spivey adds that there was another missed opportunity by the franchise during 2017’s nearly-canceled season of Bachelor in Paradise. After allegations of sexual impropriety were investigated, the show reconvened with a post hiatus episode featuring a conversation between Chris Harrison and cast mates. “A professional should have been called in to address the issue of ‘Consent’ and clearly define what it means. In a way, this huge issue was somewhat glossed over following a public controversy. In my opinion, they fumbled the ball by not having a psychologist there. This was an opportunity to educate properly.”

While Spivey expects certain things from the franchise in 2018, it’s amazing that she still watches the show after what she experienced in 2011:

“I spoke about being a victim of sexual assault and rape in a prior relationship that was abusive. I knew there were other women that would be able to relate to my experience and I wanted to be authentic about real life issues. All of that was cut out of the show.”

With a social climate that is changing for victims of sexual assault, Spivey has been able to note progress made by the franchise more recently, but perhaps it is her own scarring past experience that keeps her fighting. By highlighting issues with contestants, it is inevitable that producers are tuned in and making changes –even if some regard her as a troublemaker or fail to credit her.

After exploring claims that a contestant of The Proposal (a spinoff show of the franchise’s) had once drugged and sexually assaulted a woman, Spivey was instrumental in bringing the information to light. Although no one from the network contacted Spivey, ABC promptly pulled the episode and it never aired. “That indicates they’re responding, but there’s still a long way to go.”

There are many viewers who see The Bachelor as a safe entertainment haven, one away from politics. As a result, that contingent would not want to be lurking on Ashley Spivey’s timeline. She tells me she was pleasantly surprised when Bekkah Martinez’s Trump reference wasn’t edited out of Arie’s season of The Bachelor.

“The reality is that there are viewers in Middle America that the franchise doesn’t want to alienate, so you’re not going to hear much political discussion. I believe that Rachel and Nick’s fantasy suite date was on election night, but producers know how polarizing these types of conversations can be. I think contestants are also highly aware of this and as a result, reluctant to discuss politics. Michael Garofola brought up Trump a lot during Bachelor Winter Games – Know that, despite the fact that you didn’t get to see it on the show.”

A more recent controversy Spivey has spotlighted is the one surrounding Leo Dottavio from Becca’s season of The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.

“I had seen mumblings about Leo sending dick pics and inappropriate messages to women. Bekkah Martinez had Instagram stories about people coming forward to her regarding unwanted advances from Leo. He claimed it was all photo- shopped and fabricated, but there were multiple people coming forward to back Bekkah up. Then Amanda Stanton posted about him and Leo responded by sending threats.”

(Ironically, Spivey and I spoke right before Amanda Stanton’s arrest following a physical altercation with her boyfriend. Stanton’s lawyer issued a statement acknowledging that any violence is wrong and conveying Stanton’s regrets about her actions.)

Spivey would like to see more progress from the franchise, including more inclusiveness and diversity. She is currently disgruntled by the demographics. “Rachel Lindsay, the first black Bachelorette, is also the only Bachelorette to not reach a million followers. That shows you how racist viewers still are.”

Spivey would have also liked to see the first black Bachelor this upcoming season. There were some great candidates, she notes, including Wills Reid and Eric Bigger. However, Spivey sees the selection of Colton Underwood as a response to a call for change and proactively safer casting choices.

“There are lots of crazy stories out there about contestants, but there is nothing bad on Colton,” she emphasizes. “Colton is a good person. I think that raising awareness about what’s problematic really did have an impact. You see that with the choice of Colton as the next Bachelor.”

Spivey is quick to add: “On the other hand, if the whole season is ragging on Colton for being a virgin…that would be a complete step backwards…”

“If they don’t make significant changes, it will be hard for me to continue watching.”

(Photos, from left to right, courtesy of Wet Paint and Brides.com. Spivey has said that during her season of The Bachelor, she was more in love with fellow content Ashley Hebert than Bachelor Brad Womack.)

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