The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss announced in late March that he was stepping away from his franchise, thanking ABC for working with him for 21 years and stating that he believes his replacements will “keep this lightening [sic] in a bottle bold and moving forward.”
Following Mike’s announcement, though, Variety discovered that Mike actually left because Warner Bros. TV had conducted an investigation regarding racial discrimination and “bullying” allegations against Mike by current and former producers and employees. These staff members accused Mike of “bullying” staff members and being adverse to having people of color star on ‘The Bachelor’ The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
After the news of the investigation broke, Juan Pablo Galavis— the very first minority ‘Bachelor’ lead— took to Twitter to speak out about the racist and “disrespectful” working environment he feels Mike’s words and actions created.
“I KNEW it from day 1, it was a matter of TIME,” Juan Pablo— who is Venezuelan— wrote on Twitter, along with a link to the story about Variety’s investigation.
I KNEW it from day 1, it was a matter of TIME, Chris’ MOUTH got him 1st, but Mike was the MASTERMIND behind everything. Racism, bullying and creating a disrespectful working environment! NOW the show will have TRUE love stories RESPECTING beliefs and how each CULTURE express LOVE https://t.co/0xfMzrdJNo
— Juan Pablo Galavis™ (@JuanPaGalavis) March 31, 2023
“Chris’ MOUTH got him 1st, but Mike was the MASTERMIND behind everything,” Juan Pablo added, obviously referencing former ‘Bachelor’ franchise host Chris Harrison, who left the show in 2021 after defending contestant Rachel Kirkconnell’s past racist behavior.
Juan Pablo—- who was the first non-white lead in ‘Bachelor’ franchise history— continued to state that the show will be better now that Mike is gone.
“Racism, bullying and creating a disrespectful working environment! NOW the show will have TRUE love stories RESPECTING beliefs and how each CULTURE express LOVE,” he wrote.
Variety claims that, despite the happy tone of his departure announcement, Mike wasn’t the one who decided he would leave the franchise.
“Fleiss’ public-facing exit strategy allowed him to present a peaceful parting of ways that indicated he voluntarily left,” the magazine states. “But behind the scenes, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Fleiss left his mega-franchise after an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination was conducted by Warner Bros. TV, Variety has learned.”
According to Variety’s article about the investigation into Mike, some staff members claimed the former ‘Bachelor’ producer would “berate” any employee who tried to speak up about the lack of diversity on the shows.
“People said he would retaliate against people for having minorities and Black people on the show,” an insider shared with Variety. “He favored certain people over other people. He would say, ‘Minorities don’t get ratings.’”
This is not the first time Juan Pablo has spoken out about the racism he claims he saw and experienced while appearing on ‘The Bachelor.’ In March 2021, Juan Pablo tweeted sympathy to Matt James—- who was the first Black lead on ‘The Bachelor.’
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“It’s sad to see the persistent racism and discrimination is finally coming to light after 25 seasons of ‘The Bachelor,’” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “I can personally attest to this situation as the first Latino on the show.”
Juan Pablo then applauded Rachel Lindsay— who was the first Black ‘Bachelorette’ and the person who conducted the interview with Chris Harrison that ultimately got him to leave the show.
“Rachel Lindsay thank you for CALLING out @ChrisBHarrison,” Juan Pablo tweeted.
He went on to write, “Thank GOD @BachelorABC didn’t LISTEN to [Mike Fleiss] and [Chris Harrison] this time. Happy to see they didn’t trash you, [Matt James] for not proposing.”
‘The Bachelor’ has been under fire for years for its lack of diversity, with news outlets and former employees of the franchise— including a former casting director in 2020— accusing Mike and other show execs of racist actions and toxic behavior in the past as well.
For 21yrs @BachelorABC has refused to cast diverse body types—ignoring this campaign & the audience asking for representation. We are disgusted at the latest revelations about @fleissmeister in @PuckNews, revelations which show both his racism and anti-fat bias. #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/CYSaX0Hsof
— Roses for Every Body (@roses4everybod) March 31, 2023
In a statement to Variety after the story about his investigation ran, Mike admitted he could have done more to make ‘The Bachelor’ more diverse.
“Since [the show’s] premiere 21 years ago, times have certainly changed and I’d have to say we didn’t keep up with the pace of those changes,” he wrote. “I am proud of the work we’ve done over the past five years to make the show substantially more diverse, but I do believe I could have done more. Hopefully the franchise will continue to move in the right direction.”
He then seemingly addressed the claims that he was a “bully” to some of his employees.
“Judging by the number of staff weddings we’ve hosted at our home and the number of teary messages that blew up my phone when I announced I had turned in my final rose, I’m pretty sure I had more good days than bad, lifted more spirits than hurt feelings, and leave the franchise in good hands, with more friends than foe.”
Mike has not yet publicly responded to Juan Pablo’s comments.
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(Photos: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images; Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Anyone notice anytime bachelor nation has a racial issue, they always choose to put in a black bachelor or bachelorette LOL.
watched every episode prior to the loss of Chris Harrison–have not watched one episode since! this so called racist thing was a ploy for one person to get ahead –period–one day karma will visit that person