Bullies take ‘The Bachelor’ by storm

The 25th season of The Bachelor was meant to celebrate the first African American male lead, as well as the current most diverse cast, and yet it has been overturned by scandals including racism and bullying. Matt James, the first black ‘Bachelor’, has allowed ABC to gain more viewers than previous seasons, however, cast members including Victoria Larson, Anna Redman, and MJ Snyder have presented toxicity and exclusion on screen. In addition to this, The Bachelor star Rachael Kirkconnell has been facing accusations of racist behavior.

The popular ABC reality series is known to be drama-filled and catty, but Larson and Redman have teamed up to bring this bullying to another level. Name-calling and emotional manipulation have been a few of the tactics used by the pair.

“Victoria Larson entered the 25th season of the ABC franchise wearing a crown and referring to herself as “The Queen.” Ever since, she has monopolized airtime with her antics, which have centered around “hazing” her fellow female contestants, rather than focusing her attention on the one man they are all competing to marry,” says The Hollywood Reporter.

  Larson has put many women under fire, including former cast member Sarah Trott, who had been unsure about her place in the Bachelor mansion considering her father’s battle with a terminal illness. Trott attempted an apology towards the women for having more time with ‘Bachelor’ James, however Larson did not accept and advised Trott to leave the show, which eventually occurs. Not only does Larson show the behavior of a bully, Anna Redman created a false rumour about another girl in the house.

“The Bachelor” began with Brittany upset that the other women were telling lies about her being an escort,” states news center ABC 11. Brittany Galvin, a cast member who was introduced on the show later than most women, has been facing conflicts with Redman, as they both have ties to Chicago, Illinois. Redman claims to have heard of Galvin “entertaining men for money,” however no evidence of this exists. The false claim was enough to have Galvin in tears, providing ‘Bachelor’ Matt James with a reason to send Redman home. 

“It’s nice as a viewer to see that Matt won’t stand for the petty drama and bullying,” says viewer Katelyn Harris, senior at Athens Drive High School.

Many Bachelor fans enjoy the fighting between cast members, however, this season has reached a limit for most. There is a common worry that through the promotion of bullying on-screen, young viewers will think that this behavior is okay to perform in their daily lives. ‘Bachelor’ James eventually sends “Queen” Larson home moments after Redman, providing watchers at home with some comfort that doing the right thing will get cast members further. MJ Snyder, a hairdresser from California on the show, referred to certain groups of the women as “varsity and JV”. This comment also lands her in a car home, as James is taking every action into consideration this season. Alongside bullying, there have been instances of racism uncovered in regards to cast member Rachael Kirkconnell. 

“News surfaced that Rachael “liked” Confederate flag-themed TikToks and a photo resurfaced that appears to show her attending a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018,” according to USA Today. Kirkconnell appears to be a front-runner, so her morality and reasoning for being on the show has been put into question by many. Considering the women in the “final four”, competing for James’ heart, Kirkconnell is the only cast member left who carries circulating controversy. 

“As Rachael’s actions have been known amidst episode airing, the franchise should have put out a statement in regards to her past mistakes and acts of racism,” says long time viewer Tracy Abrahamson from Florida.

 Kirkconnell has since then put out a statement on her instagram page in an effort to denounce what she had done preceding the show, however it is unclear what the Bachelor franchise and Matt James intend to do about this sticky situation. With about three episodes left of the season, there is still more to be uncovered in terms of Kirkconnell’s relationship with James, and where they stand today. 

“If Rachael gets the final rose at the end of the season, The Bachelor franchise may go downhill quickly,” says Katelyn Harris.