Reality Steve

Reader Emails

“Reader Emails,” Ratings, Mike Johnson Speaks, & When is the Next IG Live?

Photo Credit: ABC

As a condition of entering the show, are contestants required to inform their parents that they have the slightest chance of a hometown in a month? I would be real dumb of them not to.

Does Production usually talk to parents during casting for contestants? (We know they do for leads)

Would it ever happen that parents get a call from Production to arrange a hometown visit and the family did not even know that their offspring was on the show till then?

I’ll bet Production would love that, though – maximize the shock value.

Comment: I gotta believe that every contestant who’s ever been on this show told their parents what they were doing. Why wouldn’t they? So no, I don’t think any parents have ever gotten a call that said they were coming for a hometown and the parents were like, “What? Huh? My child is where?”

Hey Steve!

Love your column. A few things have come to mind over these past few weeks:

First, clearly this show loves seeing women put up against each other, and we all know how the producers are behind the bullying that goes on. However, I noticed that these producers are mostly women (correct me if I’m wrong here). For a while I had this idea of these “big bad men” behind the drama of this show, but by looking at previous contestants social media it seems like every producer they post with or hang out with are women. I guess this isn’t really a question, just something I noticed. It amazes me that these women producers encourage the bullying of other women, but I guess without it they wouldn’t have a job. There are plenty of male producers on the show. Most of them in the higher up positions.

Second, the first Bachelorette season I watched was Kaitlyn’s. Looking back, it’s a weird season to start off with considering the men had to vote between her and Britt. I was super oblivious to producer manipulation at the time, so I was wondering…did production rig that vote? Did they know going into the season that Kaitlyn was going to be the Bachelorette, or do you think they actually went with who the men chose?

Anyway, thanks for all you do!

Comment: They went with who the men chose. I also know that they knew the men were going to choose Kaitlyn.

Dear Steve,

I loved this weeks live with you and Ashley about anti racism! It was clear you both did so much work to provide resources and actionable take aways, I will definitely be reading and listening to the books and podcasts you both mentioned. I’m a big fan of your podcasts, how much work goes into preparing for a guest? Do you prepare most of your questions or do you let them come up naturally as the conversation goes on?

Comment: If it’s someone I’ve had on a few times or someone I talk to a lot off air (like Taylor Nolan this week), not many notes need to go into it because I know a lot of what she’ll say since we’ve discussed it over and over these last couple weeks.

But for someone like Chelsie Webster a couple weeks ago, definitely some more extensive notes since we’d never spoken and there were things about her season I wanted to make sure to talk about.

Just a quick note to applaud your Instagram live with Ashley last night. The events of the past year are forcing white people of conscience to engage with a lot of uncomfortable truths that we haven’t had to think about before — including that our ability to watch a show like the bachelor without thinking or talking about the racial politics is, in and of itself, a privilege that we have. Anyway, you may take heat for it, but I think that your willingness to dive into this situation with Rachel and what it says this show’s (and the broader society’s) failures is important. keep it up.

Comment: Thanks. 100% it’s uncomfortable. But the fact that it IS uncomfortable is the reason why we know there’s a problem. And with the recent events of Chris’ interview and him stepping down temporarily, you HAVE to talk about it.

Hi Steve,

I hope you’re doing well. I’ve never reached out before, though I’ve thought about it in the past. I never felt like it was ‘safe’ to do so, because I personally always worry about communication via social media or email and how it will be perceived by the recipient. Because we do not know each other and are not speaking in person, tone can be impossible to decipher and body language is non-existent. I watched your live last night with Ashley, as I always do, and was really surprised. Coming into the live, I was nervous about what would be said and how you would approach things. I am so glad you used your platform to say what you did. I think many of the people who come to are white and I would guess that it’s a similar demographic for your lives. It’s so important for white people to hear other white people say “you’re either racist or you’re anti-racist.” Thank you to you and Ashley for having this conversation, and thank you for putting in the work to make it such a productive and important live.

I know you said you don’t get into politics, but I 100% agree with Ashley that being anti-racist is political. Our country was built by racists and it has continued to be part of the foundation of this country and our government. From gerrymandering to mass incarceration, modern day racism is a part of our political system.

Here’s to more uncomfortable conversations in the future!

Comment: Thanks. When you hear me say the word politics and saying I don’t talk about them, I’m specifically referring to like government policies, laws, etc. I just don’t follow that stuff. But yes, I do understand how being anti-racist is considered political. I guess I just need to specify better when I say politics.

Hey Steve,

I appreciate the work that you and Ashley are doing to educate people on the racism that is surrounding Rachael and her family/friends. I wanted to share something with you that I think may help your followers/readers understand a little bit more about growing up in the South. The following article provides context about why people in the South may have racist behaviors but not understand that those behaviors are racist.

The article above is incredibly detailed as to the history of warped education that students in the Southern United States receive in regards to the Civil War, slavery, racism, etc. A group of women, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, came together to ‘reshape’ the history taught to children and printed in textbooks. As recently as 2010, this is still happening.

So many people in the Southern states don’t leave the small towns that they live in. People who grow up like Rachael often come from old money whose families are historically racist. Because our curriculum often reflects siding with the “South will rise again” type ideation, it skews our education and doesn’t allow for seeing the correct and horrific things that happen to Black people. The history I was taught in school only focused on the historical figures that fought for the South. Many people may remember the scene in Sweet Home Alabama where the father participates in a Civil War reenactment. These still occur to this day (the county where I grew up in Georgia has one of the largest reenactments in the states).

While there are MANY amazing people who get an education, are open minded, and are not racist, this misinformation taints our culture and affects our perception of right and wrong. Yes, people can grow up and learn new things, and college gives many that opportunity, but only if you take advantage of it. While I am a very lucky individual who took advantage of my college education and I have learned the correct version of history, many people don’t know that they have even been taught incorrectly, let alone have made steps to learn the correct information.

Comment: Thank you for that. Very informative. And yes, I think how it’s taught in our schools, not just in the South but everywhere, plays a major role. I know for a fact that we never dove deep into topics like slavery, the Civil War, marches/rallies, etc. It was all surface level stuff. Until it’s taught from the black person’s perspective, how is any white person really supposed to understand the magnitude of it at all?

Hey Steve,

Just wanted to let you know that I thought last nights Instagram Live was very informative and insightful. I feel as if I’m on this journey as well of learning to be anti-racist and hearing different resources for self-improvement is helpful. I have enjoyed yours and Ashley’s Tuesday night lives since this summer and truly look forward to them. Thanks again.

Comment: I hope we can help in any way. We’re certainly not perfect. Nor are we claiming to be. But I think we can really help bring light to topics that people are either uneducated about, or, are afraid to talk about. That’s all we’re trying to do.

Hi Steve,

Love your recaps. Unrelated to the Bachelor but you inspired me to rewatch 24. Finishing up Season 2 now and it totally holds up 20 years later as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Unpredictable plot lines and constantly keeps you on your toes. Would love to hear more on your thoughts on the show if you ever decide to do an article or podcast episode about it!

Comment: Good for you. I just finished rewatching the whole series (minus season 1 and Legacy). Watching 2 episodes a night from season 2-9 since back in October and just finished 2 weeks ago. Yes, it absolutely still holds up today and will forever be my favorite show. It also kinda bums me out that they don’t do it anymore. Maybe Kiefer doesn’t want to, and if that’s the case, so be it. But if he’s in, why wouldn’t you be able to do another season or two and continue it on? Obviously more people have to be on board like Howard Gordon, Manny Coto, Bob Cochran, and the brains behind the original series, but lets do it. I need more 24 in my life. Even season 9, that 12 episode season shot in London, was better than I remembered it being, and that wasn’t even a full 24 hrs-in-a-day season. I know there’s been talk about doing a prequel, where it’d be Jack before the Jack we know, but frankly, I’m not interested in that. I’d watch, but, I really wanna see Kiefer as Jack Bauer because it’s one of the most iconic TV characters in the last 50 years.

Things may change between now and next week when you get to this, but given light of everything that’s going on, will you continue spoiling this show if they do nothing regarding this CH/RK fiasco?

I know it’s your livelihood, and you don’t work for them, but by spoiling, you’re supporting them because your website draws followers. You’ve said it yourself, your work helps the show by creating chatter and bringing in a crowd.

I applaud you for no longer standing by and speaking up with the racial injustices (and I’m sorry if this is the wrong terminology, I’m still learning as well). But does continuing your work help promote the racist behaviours of the show?

I don’t know, it’s a question. I’m by no means calling you a racist. You and Ashley are the reason I’ve started getting louder about these topics and doing my research. I want to learn and be an ally. I’m just curious what your thoughts are.

Comment: I hear what you’re saying, and a lot of people have asked me something very similar to this. All I can say is have you read what I’ve written about the show for the last 18 years? I’m not someone that glorifies it, praises it, and does nothing but kiss the ass of everyone involved. I do the opposite. For years, I’ve been calling out the behavior of production and the role they play in this show. And for years, all I’ve done is expose things you don’t see on your screen. Not to mention make fun of it. So while it is my job, I’m certainly not profiting off it because of my support for it. If THAT were the case, I’d rethink what I was doing. But a lot of the stuff coming to light right now is stuff I’ve harped on for years. Not as much the racial divide (although I’ve always pointed out how white the show is), but just exposing them for what they do. I think this show is at a real crossroads now in the pop culture world and it’ll be interesting to see if they change course.

Hi Steve,

long time reader (Jason’s season) & viewer (Trista!) with some intermittent viewing breaks for crappy seasons (Lorenzo, Jesse Palmer…) but I’ve never emailed you before. I had been hoping to get to your Fan Appreciation party in 2020, but alas, COVID.

Chris Harrison’s interview w/ Rachel Lindsay was horrendous, which, given how media-trained he is, is surprising that he wouldn’t be able to “read the room,” but also not surprising given the show’s overall avoidance of talking about racism directly. I AM surprised that Rachel didn’t call him on it more – I imagine she was bound to some specific talking and NON-talking points re: Rachael but still. Chris was positioning himself as the expert on “erasing” versus learning from history, racism reactions, and the “woke police” TO RACHEL, which is ludicrous, and interrupting her like crazy (I really wish she’d pulled out an “I’m speaking”). Plus, he obviously was lying about why Rachael hasn’t spoken up yet – that’s on the show. Rachel did an admirable job not reacting to his paternalism.


Comment: So the thing with that is two-fold:

1) I’m pretty sure that was never supposed to be a 13 minute interview on the Rachael Kirkconnell stuff. Chris is the one that made it that by continuing to give ignorant and uneducated defenses to it.

2) Rachel addressed this on her “Higher Learning” podcast with Van Lathan in that, she’s a TV host. She can’t just lay into him on TV. She has to be professional, no matter how upset she was getting. Because what happens if Rachel goes off on Chris and starts raising her voice to him? Then what does the story become? Exactly. She’s painted as the angry black woman and Chris suddenly becomes the victim. Rachel handled herself exactly how she should’ve. Didn’t prod. Didn’t dig deep. Just laid out and let the guy bury himself.

I just wanted to write and say thank you for the way you’ve documented your own journey to better understanding of the way systemic racism and sexism work, and how that affects the way women and people of color are treated. I think it’s helping a lot of people start to think about these issues who might not have been aware of them before. Maybe some of them are mad at you because they don’t WANT to have to be aware of them, because it can be pretty uncomfortable! But it’s important, and we can deal with the discomfort in order to understand how to make people’s lives better. Or at least we should be able to. Oh the ones that are mad and lashing out at me for pointing out something quite obvious are for sure people that feel uncomfortable and don’t want to think outside their perfect white bubble. That’s clear.

I’ve been reading your writing clear back to Ali’s season, and I remember in the earlier years thinking that you were a lot of fun but you came across as a little misogynist, in some ways that I was pretty sure were unconscious. You weren’t cruel to women or anything; you just didn’t notice how some things you said played into stereotypes. And of course you didn’t talk about race at all, because there just weren’t any people of color on the Bachelor shows to talk about at that point; at least not unless you count the occasional rare contestant who always got eliminated early after no significant screen time! I’ve watched you learn to speak differently about women, and amplify the voices of women who have important stories to tell. It’s really made me respect you a lot, and I’m even more glad to see that you’re now looking into the things that white people need to know about racism, just as you already learned so much of what men need to know about misogyny.

You’re becoming one hell of a good ally, Steve. And one hell of a good journalist… because the job of any journalist is to call the facts as they see them, and to learn how to see the truths beneath the surface of what happens so they can call it accurately. That’s just as true about the facts of how people are seeing southern history through distorted lenses as it is about the facts of which Bachelor got engaged to whom!

I’m really impressed with the ways you’ve changed and grown since I began reading. You were always fun; you’re now fun and substantive as well. Thanks for everything.

Comment: Thanks. I’ve never ever, ever, ever denied or hidden my past writings. I’ve talked about them numerous times. I was terrible. What I wrote was awful. Erasing or deleting them wouldn’t have made any difference. I wrote it. So the only thing I can do after that is try and be better, realize that’s not acceptable, and change. I feel I’ve done that. I also think if you ask my girlfriends I’ve had or anyone I’ve dated, people that actually know me, that’s not how I am.

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  1. Nahu

    February 17, 2021 at 9:18 AM

    The Bachelor hasn’t been doing well in ratings all season long. For the first time in years, Fox’s 9-1-1 pulled more viewers than The Bachelor and was tied in the 25-54 key demo. Colton and Peter had 1.9 in key demo and pulled 1 million more viewers than Matt.

  2. justsaying

    February 17, 2021 at 11:03 AM

    What is Steve going to do if the franchise is canceled

  3. fishbelt

    February 17, 2021 at 5:26 PM

    @just saying – podcasts about old 90210 episodes. He has always had a vendetta against Chris Harrison since he started this website, so, what comes around, goes around.

  4. mgb970

    February 20, 2021 at 6:55 PM

    @just saying

    > if the franchise is canceled

    Probably time for that. It’s no longer about love. Being there for the “right reasons” now means not screwing up getting insta-famous. Ever conversation on race the franchise gets wrong.

    It’s just an effing train wreck at this point. The franchise needs to be put down mercifully.

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