Reader Emails

“Reader Emails,” Conversation Cut from ATFR, & Ratings

Photo Credit: ABC

Steve,

I believe the last episode and ATFR throws a bad light on Matt. This is a guy who didn’t want to commit and used the 2018 fiasco as an excuse to dump Rachael.

He also blames others for us commitment phobia- his dad, his mom and now Rachel’s 2018 behaviour when the reality is he just doesn’t want a wife or a serious relationships at this point in time.

If someone truly loves you they don’t abandon you. I know what Rachael did was wrong, but come on.

Curious to hear your take.

Comment: No, he doesn’t need to abandon her. But he also doesn’t have to be around while she figures herself out. If that’s what he chooses, who am I to tell him he’s wrong? It’s his choice. I think I can question this guys motives from the time he signed on the dotted line to be the “Bachelor,” but his relationships are his relationships. I’m not here to tell him what he can and can’t do with who he’s dating. If that’s what he felt like he needed to do in that situation, so be it.
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Good evening Steve,

With all the Chris Harrison stuff going around recently obviously we know why we haven’t heard from him much in the last month, but I’m starting to wonder what happened to Lauren. I haven’t heard from her in over a month which is not like her at all. The last I heard she was stuck in Texas because of the storm but that was a while ago too and it makes me wonder what’s going on. I haven’t seen or even doing interviews outside of bachelor nation. Do you have any Insight on what’s going on with that?

Comment: Nope.
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Hi Steve,

First I want to say thank you so much for all you do! And thank you for speaking out about the importance of education around understanding privilege, becoming anti-racist and leading by example. You’re awesome and I applaud you for doing the hard work and speaking up even when you get unnecessary- and uncalled for- hate from many people in Toxic Bachelor Nation.

As for my question, I finished watching the ATFR and I couldn’t shake the feeling that Matt wanted to say more at the end but didn’t have the chance… Matt was clearly (of course) so hurt by Rachael and I knew why he said she needed to do the work on her own… but when she said the last things to him and he responded with “I don’t know if it will ever not hurt to hear those things” it seemed like he trailed off and was about to say “but..” like leaving a small chance for reconciliation eventually, but then Emmanuel thanked them for being there and moved on to the final segment. It seemed like there was unfinished stuff between Matt and Rachael… did you pick up on that at all or get that impression, or did it seem like he said everything already? I appreciate your thoughts as always!

Comment: I didn’t pick up on that, no. I think anything is on the table with him, but it seems like for the time being at least in the short term, they won’t be together. Both need to work on themselves before dating again.
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Goodness, there was a lot to unpack there. Sadly, Matt utilized his screen time for moments of oblivion disguised as contemplation. Though it seemed that Matt really did have feelings for Rachael, it was very obvious that his feelings were not strong enough for him to hang around and help her “do the work” she needs to do.

How is it that Rachael came across looking better than Matt? She owned her mistakes, owned her responsibility in all her choices, including coming on The Bachelor knowing that Matt was that man. Rachael seemed sincere, she was poised in her responses, and she did not take the opportunity to blast Matt for hanging her out to dry because she knew that would make her look worse.

Matt had moments this season of seeming like a very nice guy. However, when it came to the moment’s that mattered:

Matt showed no compassion for Abigail, none for Michelle (for goodness sakes, the girl asked the producers for time with him, and he refused?), and he definitely showed that his “love” for Rachael was superficial at best. Did his mom’s words with him mess Matt up in his head? The producers certainly led us to that conclusion.

However, it seems clear that Matt needs to “do the work” on himself.

By the way, you called it again…from Matt’s antics prior to becoming the Bachelor, he was in NO WAY ready for a serious relationship with anyone, much less ready to propose.

Thanks for all you do each to make sense out of the chaos.

Comment: I’d say the comments are running about 80/20 in favor of Rachael coming across better than Matt on Monday night. At least that you’ll see in these emails. There are some that totally disagree with you. But I think more see it the way you do.
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Hey Steve,

How is the schedule going to look now with 2 bachelorette seasons coming? Will there still be Paradise? What about a bachelor season before Michelle’s season?

Comment: Yes. Katie’s season films this week until end of April. BIP films in June. Michell will film July into August. Bachelor will film as it normally does from around 3rd week of Sept thru before Thanksgiving.
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Hey Steve!

Quick question which you may have already addressed (sorry if so!)….. Chris Harrison is off our screens as far as us viewers are concerned, but is he off the show behind the scenes as well? Or does he still have a job producing and such?

Thanks!!

Comment: We don’t know. They still haven’t said anything. After hearing him last night doing voice overs for the ATFR and actually preview Emmanuel coming up, that was awfully bizarre. Now none of us know what the hell “stepping away from the franchise for a period of time” means. No one’s given a definition of it. I knew they wouldn’t edit him out of the episodes once he made that statement, but Emmanuel was only announced as the ATFR host a week before they filmed. So Chris clearly recorded that voiceover in the last two weeks. Why? That was Emmanuel’s show. Why couldn’t he voice it? That made no sense.
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Hey Steve,

I found parts of AFR really confusing. The conversations seemed disjointed and the music was oddly cheery given the topics of discussion. One thing that struck me with Matt and Michelle – when she confronted him about not giving her a two minute conversation post break-up, he said something along the lines of “if I had known what you were going through I would have fought harder to have that conversation”. It seemed like he was implying that he knew she wanted to talk to him, but he didn’t have the option to oblige. I was thinking maybe production prevented this because they so badly wanted a proposal and wanted him focused on Rachael. Thoughts?

Comment: Very possible. Unless Matt tells the story of what happened, we’re never going to know. He told her on stage he owned it, it was his fault, and that he should’ve given her that time. But then also said what you said. So we don’t know if production ever told him. It’s absolutely 100% possible Michelle asked to talk to Matt, production then never told Matt Michelle wanted to talk to him and just went back to her and said, “He doesn’t want to talk to you.” Sounds shitty but they’ve done waaaaaay worse over the years. But we won’t know unless Matt ever tells what happened. Which I’m guessing he never will. Maybe it did happen or maybe it didn’t. But the only people that truly know if Matt was told Michelle wanted to speak to him are production and Matt. So unless they address it (and when has production ever addressed anything ever), we’ll never know for sure what happened.
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Hi-

Dying to know what you meant in the column about what’s been happening the past 6 weeks. Any chance you’ll give us any info on what you mean?? Probably not.

Second question- why have we not heard anything about the date on a plantation during Nick Viall’s season. With Rachel Lindsay being a contestant on that season and now so outspoken about Rachael Kirkconnell, why has that not been addressed? Isn’t that basically in the same vein as Rachael’s photos?

Comment: No. Rachel and Nick didn’t have a choice of where their season was filmed. And I doubt they were given a history lesson on where they were filming. That’s different than openly choosing to attend an Antebellum function. I’ve seen this argument being made by disgruntled IG accounts that have nothing better to do than come after anyone who dares say a bad thing about their savior and Lord, Chris Harrison. That’s quite a reach by them. No, those two are not the same. Blame production for that, since they clearly didn’t research those locations well enough. And if they did, they openly chose to ignore it. You can’t put that on Rachel and Nick. They don’t dictate where filming takes place and I’ll bet anything they didn’t have a clue where they were. Nor is it on them to ask.
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Hey, Steve! Just had a quick thought that frankly turned my stomach a little bit. Chris Harrison is out for Katie’s season, which of course he should be. But you don’t think he’ll be back for Michelle’s season, do you? After everything that’s happened, they wouldn’t have him sit out for a white Bachelorette’s season only to come back for a Black Bachelorette’s season… right? With everything that’s gone on this year, I wouldn’t put it past them to bring him back for Michelle’s season and say “Look how much he’s changed!” Do you think he’s out for the rest of 2021?

Comment: Everything is a guess at this point, because the network and the production company hasn’t said anything. Today on March 17th, my guess is no. He’s not back for Michelle’s season. But that’s just a guess.
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Hi Steve,

Thanks to you I’ve gotten invested in Temptation Island. I binge watched Season 1 & 2 over the weekend and I’m up-to-date with Season 3 now! I went back and listened to a few of your podcasts with Temptation Island guests and have really enjoyed all of them. I especially like this past week’s podcast with Erica and your recent one with Esonica.

I can see that your relationship with Temptation Island (enjoyment & promotion of the show) is quite different than that of The Bachelor (spoiling & exposing aspects we wouldn’t think of before). I’m curious, when TI/USA approached you for a partnership was there a precedent set that you wouldn’t be able to spoil the show? Or did the show interest you from an entertainment aspect much more than The Bachelor that it kind of grew into this partnership + promotion relationship and there was no interest to spoil it on your side? When they first approached me in Season 1, they didn’t have to say it really. It was understood my job is to promote the show, live tweet, do IG stories, have contestants on, etc. And once it’s an ad promotion, no show is gonna want me doing ads for them while also spoiling their show.

Do you know if there’s any plan to have Nicole and Karl on the next TI reunion show? If not (or even if so), I think it’d be great to have them as podcast guests again since (based on IG) it seems they are together again since early 2020. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it looks like the most recent time you’ve had them on your podcast was around April of 2019. I think having them on in the future is something I’d definitely be interested in doing.

I also wanted to add that Mark Walberg is such a great host for this show. I especially love how at the bonfire he’s challenged people like Kristen, Erica, and previously Shari – and by ‘challenge’ I mean have brought up aspects of their time on the show at that point thus far to help them grow as a person – so challenge & encourage, rather. It would be nice to see the (hopefully) new host of The Bachelor challenge and encourage the lead to grow into a better person instead of pushing a producer-driven agenda. While I’m sure many things on TI are also producer driven, I don’t necessarily get that vibe from Mark specifically.

Comment: I mean Mark certainly has help from production and what not, but he’s good at what he does. Been doing this a long time. Married for a long time as well, so he’s got knowledge that you can tell he really likes passing on to the contestants. Whether they want to hear it or not is a different story, but he pulls no punches.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. justsaying

    March 17, 2021 at 8:31 AM

    Ladies, When Matt was awkwardly silent during the ATFR was because his brain is blank. Not because he’s being deep or trying to come up with something to say or feel. It was just because he has nothing.

    That’s how guys work. If they feel something, oh we will hear and know about it. If there’s something on their minds, oh we will hear an earful about it.

  2. kayakguy

    March 17, 2021 at 1:29 PM

    Not a bad assessment. Usually the case with me 🙂

  3. stacylee

    March 17, 2021 at 7:40 PM

    Never make it in time for emails but had a few thoughts on ATFR:
    ~Emmanuel did a fantastic job. I was so impressed with his desire to educate, understand, and inform.
    ~Two favorite things he said were that you could be racially insensitive or racially ignorant without being a racist. He does not believe Rachael is a racist. I agree. He also said he doesn’t believe in “canceling” people. These are excellent points for all of us to remember.
    ~Rachael came off as very sincere and as a woman in love. But, clearly, she is in pain. It was clear she had lost weight and was still taking her actions very seriously and was sincerely remorseful.
    ~The most telling thing Rachael did was to put Matt’s pain at the forefront…not her’s. She reached for his hand and consoled HIM. Very impressive.
    ~Matt came off more poorly and I was disappointed in him. But, after thinking about it, I realize that he was in a lose/lose situation. He definitely loved Rachael at one time but had a lot of pressure put on him to represent the black race. I think he chose to say so little because he would be damned either way.
    ~ I would like for people to understand that although Matt is a black man, he grew up in a relatively affluent part of Raleigh NC, attended Wake Forest University, and has a LOT of very close white friends. Out of all the lovely women on this season, he chose a white woman. He was raised by a white woman. So, Matt has lived as a black man surrounded by many, many, loving, supportive black AND white people.
    ~When Matt said he didn’t sign up to have these conversations, I think that’s true. It’s quite possible that his experiences as a black man have been very different than people might think.
    ~ The time Matt came across the most authentic was on night one when he opened in prayer. That got Rachael’s attention and it got mine. I’m going to pray for both of them.

  4. shellylite

    March 17, 2021 at 7:40 PM

    I don’t think Matt’s brain is blank but that he was struggling to say something that someone wouldn’t yell at him about, I.e., production. Everyone on this show has these scripted moments and without a script people get awkward.

    I think this nails it: Watching Rachel Kirkconnell be crucified by Matt James on After The Rose was APPALLING.”

    Because you know how last month was Black history Month? This month is Women’s History Month. And instead of respecting the women on the show we see one left to bleed to death on the stage sitting next to a man who said he loved her, said he was a Christian, and said she mattered to him. But apparently not enough to respect anything about her, even her basic humanity.

    It’s no surprise to me that men who run the network, the man who runs this website, and Matt James and Mr. Acho don’t respect anything about Women’s History Month or women in general. I can’t wait until women run the world and can just get men out of all positions of power. I’m no fan of Chris Harrison, but what this show did to Rachel K . . . if I were her I would sue ABC for character assassination and defamation, and she would win. I hope she considers it. This kind of thing follows a person around for decades and she did not deserve how she was treated.

  5. stacylee

    March 17, 2021 at 7:44 PM

    PS- Saw that someone mentioned his Christianity. I do admit that some of his behavior hurt his witness. But, going forward, he can work on that. I hope.

  6. justsaying

    March 18, 2021 at 7:42 AM

    @shellylite Matt is a social influencer with Cameo, Instagram, TikTok and on and on accounts and he’s afraid to get yelled at and haters?? Doesn’t make any sense.

    He dumped Abigail and Michelle in the coldest ways possible. He dumped Racheal over the phone too, even though I know she probably deserved it being a racist and all. His words or rather non-words to the women is obviously a pattern of his.

  7. Coco

    March 20, 2021 at 9:10 PM

    Is Steve hinting that Matt and Rachel are possibly still together? Matt’s odd behavior on ATFR would make more sense if this was true. Maybe they are actually together, but are faking being broken up, because of social media and it’s the “right thing to do.” I honestly got this vibe… Maybe he came off as “cold” because he was trying to act “cold” and he’s not a very good actor.

  8. elizabethkeygrinstead

    March 21, 2021 at 4:12 AM

    Enjoyed your response to the reader that bigot that you allotted exactly the consideration it deserved. EG none.

    While I don’t generally support giving bigots a platform… I classify this in your ‘see the crazy I have to deal with’ category.

    BTW, familiar w/KA Old South event. Even back in the early 80s, when the KAs held that annual event at my small college, I knew it was excreable taste & racist. And have was still in my musguided youthful conservative repuglican phase

    Eas surprised that the reader will take to take time off storming the capital so watch the franchise 😉

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