“The Bachelor” changed the reality TV landscape when it premiered in 2002 and became an instant hit. Since then, ABC has produced several successful spinoffs — “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor Pad,” “Bachelor in Paradise” and “Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise” — for a total of 40 seasons of shows. Each relatioship-centric season has had its own drama, and, at times, caused major scandals for the franchise.
Picking out the worst of the worst “Bachelor” brouhahas is a tough job, but someone has to do it! Check out the most shocking scandals to have rocked Bachelor Nation over the course of the past decade and a half.
1. ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ shut down amid sex assault scandal
Production of “Bachelor in Paradise” was suspended in June 2017 after “allegations of misconduct” on set arose involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. A field producer reportedly complained that Olympios was too drunk to consent to Jackson’s advances and production of the series was quickly shut down.
Olympios called herself a “victim” through her lawyer, fueling rumors than an assault had occurred.
Warner Bros. conducted an investigation and said it found no evidence of sexual assault. Jackson maintained did not assault Olympios. “Bachelor in Paradise” then resumed filming but without Jackson and Olympios.
Following the scandal, Warner Bros. allegedly instituted stricter policies, including a drug ban and mandatory luggage checks. Cast members were also reportedly limited to consuming two drinks per hour.
While Olympios and Jackson were left out of the remainder of the season, they were brought back together for the reunion special.
“I do wish we could have communicated, reached out to each other. It would have been a lot easier on us,” Olympios told Jackson.
The duo claimed they hadn’t spoken before appearing on the finale, adding that they both had been in therapy since the scandal fallout.
“My therapist has been my homey throughout all of this,” Jackson said.
2. Producer sues alleging sexual harassment
Ex-“Bachelorette” producer Becky Steenhoek filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Warner Bros. and five other of the show’s producers in Los Angeles Superior Court in October, 2017. Steenhoek claims she was continually asked personal questions about her sex life during JoJo Fletcher’s season of “The Bachelorette” in 2016.
The New York Times reported that she is suing for “sexual harassment and hostile work environment, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.”
Warner Bros. released a statement saying, “These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year. Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterization of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit.”
3. Chris Soules causes fatal accident
Iowa farmer Chris Soules came in third place on the 10th season of “The Bachelorette,” and was so popular with fans he starred in the 19th season of “The Bachelor.” But unfortunately for Soules, he is probably now best known for his April 2017 arrest for leaving the scene of a fatal accident when a truck he was driving hit a farm tractor, killing the tractor’s driver, 66-year-old Kenneth Moser.
Soules was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident. If Soules is convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.
In May, a judge denied a motion filed by his lawyers to dismiss the charge. A jury trial is scheduled for January 2018.
4. Kaitlyn Bristowe spoiled the show
In 2015, “Bachelorette” star Kaitlyn Bristowe snapchatted a photo of with her fiancé, contestant Shawn Booth, weeks before the finale aired, spoiling it for anyone who saw the pic that showed the lovebirds in bed together.
“We felt so bad,” she told People magazine. “There are people out there who don’t want to read spoilers, and we felt like we ruined it.”
She also told ABC7NY, “We got into a lot of trouble and we felt really bad because a lot of people are invested in love stories that happen on the show and don’t read spoilers… and I went and kind of ruined it for some people.”
5. Bachelor: She cheated with a producer
Bachelor Jake Pavelka confirmed numerous Internet reports that contestant Rozlyn Papa had an inappropriate relationship with a male producer during the show’s 14th season in 2010.
Pavelka told Entertainment Tonight, “I didn’t believe it at first. I’ve never been cheated on. I thought it was something that was being produced and thrown at me. As it was unraveling, I realized it was serious.”
Papa denied the relationship and slammed the show for being a “far cry from reality.”
Host Chris Harrison simply said the incident was “incredibly unfortunate,” and Papa was booted off the show, and the producer was fired.
6. Bachelor Brad Womack went home … a bachelor
Season 15 star Brad Womack decided to say goodbye not to one but to both of the final two women, leaving him alone with the final rose. He sent home Jenni Croft and was about to propose to DeAnna Pappas when he changed his mind.
He memorably said, “I can’t look you in your eye and tell you that I love you. I can’t. I have to tell you goodbye.”
7. Ben Higgins drops ‘I love you’ too much
In the 20th season, Higgins declared “I love you” to two of the final three women on the show, Jojo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell.
Higgins told E News! he was just expressing his feelings and didn’t know that there were rules for saying “I love you.”
“I don’t know of a rule book, maybe there is one, maybe fans out there are hiding… I keep hearing ‘He broke all the rules,’” he said in the 2016 interview. “I didn’t know there were rules to this.”
He eventually proposed to Bushnell, but the two called off their engagement in May 2017.
8. Nick Viall dished about sex in fantasy suite
“Bachelor” series favorite Viall finished as the runner up for two consecutive years on “The Bachelorette” and then starred on the 21st season of “The Bachelor.” He proposed to Vanessa Grimaldi, but their engagement was called off.
But things really got interesting when Nick, revealed on “After the Final Rose” that he and bachelorette Andi Dorfman from Season 10 had sex in the fantasy suite. He said to Dorfman, “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure, like, why you made love with me.”
Dorfman attacked Viall’s comments as “below the belt.”
Viall continued to cause controversy on his season of “The Bachelor.” In just the second episode of the season, contestant Corinne Olympios stripped topless and embraced him in a pool on their first date. She continued to pursue Viall while naked under a trench coat. She then sprayed whipped cream on her cleavage — and Viall obediently licked it off.
9. DeMario Jackson had a girlfriend during ‘The Bachelorette’
Jackson was a contestant on Rachel Lindsay’s season of “The Bachelorette” when he caused quite a stir. His ex-girlfriend, Lexi, showed up during a group date Jackson was on and told Rachel the two were dating just a few days before he appeared on the show.
Jackson pretended not to know Lexi, and Rachel told Jackson to “Get the f–k out.”
10. Juan Pablo: The ‘most hated bachelor’
Season 18 star Juan Pablo, a former professional soccer player from Venezuela with a 4-year-old daughter, saw contestants leave the show because no one saw a future with him.
Pablo caused controversy right off the bat when he said in an interview in the beginning of his season that he didn’t think the show should have a gay or bisexual star because gay people were “more [perverted].”
11. DeMario Jackson causes racial controversy
After being booted from the show, Jackson made comments that Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay was only “attracted to white men.”
“I was only there for the two weeks in the house,” Jackson said on The E&G Podcast. “From the beginning you knew that she was attracted to white men. You knew that. No disrespect, you just knew. She had that vibe. From night one, we all sat down, all the guys and I said, ‘They’re going to have a black representative, either myself or Eric, and they’re going to have Dean, Peter, and Brian as the final four.’ We all caught that.”
Lindsay fired back, “Says the guy that dated Lexi… DeMario never knew me and still doesn’t.”
12. Courtney Robertson had sex while the cameras rolled
Robertson was one of the contestants on Season 16, during Ben Flajnik’s chance at finding love. She dissed other girls along the way and had sex in the ocean while the cameras were rolling.
She told Fox News in 2014 that she forgot she was being filmed.
“At the moment I kind of forgot we were filming the show. I was so wrapped up in wanting to spend alone time with him. It was the first time I got to talk without any audio. It didn’t last very long. I was trying to keep it as real as possible. That’s something I would do if I was with my boyfriend on vacation.”