Reality Steve

Reader Emails

“Reader Emails,” People’s Choice Awards, & Clayton’s Season

Hey Steve,

I just wanted to share a few quick thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks about Brandon. I don’t usually get very invested in any of the people that are cast on these shows, but Brandon seems to me to be one of the most genuine and unpretentious people in a cast that I’ve seen in a long time. With most of the cast you can tell when they’re attempting to “act”, or say the “right things”, or force a “connection” that clearly is NOT natural. Lol. But with Brandon, it really seems like everything he says is just him being himself. It’s kind of a breath of fresh air for this show to be honest. And he really, actually seems very into Michelle. I think this is the first time I’ve ever felt genuinely sad for a contestant who doesn’t get chosen in the end. (I believe your spoilers to be accurate, so I know he makes it to the final 2 and then doesn’t get chosen.)

I don’t use social media at all (stopped using it several years ago and it’s been great! Ha) so I’d be really curious to know if he has been well-received on social media or if people agree with how I’m feeling. I’d also love to hear your take on him and if you agree/disagree. Without telling us any specifics, I’d love to know if he was one of the people you received any negative emails or info about before the season started? I’d love to see if my radar is on or off about him.

Lastly, is he someone you’d consider having on your podcast? I read an article last week that the only season of the show he has EVER watched was Matt’s when Michelle was on it, so maybe that’s why he didn’t try to “play the game” or say the “right” things like the other contestants. It would be incredibly interesting to hear his take on the process of the show since he was so unfamiliar with it when he went on.

Thanks Steve!

Comment: I’ve heard things here and there but no idea if any of it’s true.

If the contestants of this show weren’t told not to come on my podcast and they didn’t have contracts for a year where all media had to be approved through the show, I’d be asking every single main person from this franchise on. Would all of them accept? Absolutely not. But I think a few definitely would. But they literally can’t come on unless they want to piss someone off.

Hi Steve,

How are you today? Missed you live tweeting last week but glad you had fun at the concert.

A few questions for you:

1. Do you know when DTWS is back on? Is there another season or do we have to wait until next september? Nothing has been announced, but I believe that show is down to 1 season per calendar year, and that’s the one that runs from Sept. thru November.

2. Thoughts on Michelle’s season so far. How does she compare to past seasons? I think she’s doing fine. In the drama department, I think it’s much less compared to past seasons.

3. Do you listen to any of the bachelor nation podcasts? If so, which would you recommend? Unless I have to to get an exact quote from someone, no. I just don’t have the time to listen to them.

4. I know for Michelle’s season you put out photos of the guys and their instagram and some fun facts. Are you doing that for Clayton’s season? I know you did it for a few of the women in the beginning but are you going to finish?

Thanks for all you do!

Comment: I did? I don’t even remember doing that for Michelle’s season. Like, back in July when we were first given the guys? Oh yeah, I think I did. Just for a few of them. Yeah, maybe I will for Clayton’s women just for people who are seeing them for the first time.

Hi Steve,

Long time reader etc etc. Before I get into my questions, I wanted to say I appreciate the turn you’ve taken with your writing and reporting. I know you are reporting just a faction of the tea you get, but think this approach is better. Do I miss the old tea? Yeah. Am I a better person for not knowing it Also yeah. Also, having read your writing for a while, I wanted to commend you for truly seeming to do the work needed to be better with how you interact with people in the BN orbit. I think you are aware of your power and privilege more than you used to be and have been honest about the past mistakes. So thanks for that. Don’t see it often enough.

Anyway that went on longer than I planned. Thanks. It’s nice to see people noticing. I just hate using the word “power.” That sounds waaaaaay too strong for something I do. I think a better word would be “influence.” Because yeah, if I put a strong opinion out there about a contestant on this show that’s backed up with evidence of things I’ve seen and heard, for sure that’ll have an influence on how other people perceive them.

The “power” dynamic was thrown out there maliciously against me and I just don’t think that’s the proper context. Because I never wielded my power over anyone in this franchise, either intentionally or unintentionally. It was made out to be that I would hold stuff over peoples heads, or threaten them with bad press if they didn’t say or do something for me, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s never, ever, happened. If it did happen as certain people so freely suggested, and it was this ongoing thing, I’d like to see the examples with proof. I’ll wait until the end of time because it never happened. Influence? Yes, I believe I can influence how people view contestants. THAT I never really took a long look at until I was called out on it. I can see that now. Power wielding? Never happened.

I want to start by saying I don’t think anyone should get shamed for what I’m about to say but it seems that the BN production with Kaitlyn and Tayshia has just gone too far with the fake drama. With Kaitlyn confronting Tayshia about her ring, I am sure it was planned or whatever but it still came off poorly and like a sabotage. You don’t need to highlight the relationship issues of one couple (Tayshia and Zac) to pivot easily to other issues for others (Rodney). I think the show can do better (or maybe not?) but it was poor taste. How about we ask Kaitlyn about all of her issues? I don’t know how that worked and if Tayshia was given a heads up. I’m guessing she had to have known since her rep confirmed the media reports that day that they’d broken up. But the convo was literally less than a minute and Tayshia said four sentences about the breakup with zero details. So to me, it just kinda went over my head. I didn’t think much about it. She’ll talk about it when she wants to I guess. Just like most of these couples that break up, I don’t cover it much or give it much thought anymore once it happens. Especially when it comes to Tayshia. It’s a lose-lose for me. And yes, I did for Katie because, well, she did something no other broken up couple had done before.

This would never have happened to Chris Harrison. Oh, Chris, while we’re talking about so and so breaking up, how about you tell us about your divorce? Would that have driven up viewers? 100%. Chris would never have agreed to it though and neither should Tayshia (if she did) or Kaitlyn (who should see she would be out in the same position if there was tea in her life). It’s just ridiculous how far this show will go for drama that isn’t even good. I know Kaitlyn and Tayshia are in a different position than Chris but still. I’m sorry I was there for it and turned it off (I know it doesn’t matter).

Interested in your thoughts? Any chance that wasn’t planned or was it scripted?

Comment: I’d be shocked if Tayshia didn’t know it was coming. I was just wondering why in the clip on their Twitter account teasing the conversation, it was different than what aired? And mostly just eliminating things that Kaitlyn said. It wasn’t major, but, it seemed like they edited it out within hours of airing.

Hi Steve I noticed you said you were a little low on emails this week so I thought I’d send in a couple of questions I have. Going back to Claytons’s 1 on 1 a couple of weeks back you said as you always do that the fate of a contestant on a 1 on 1 is decided prior to the date even taking place and I was just wondering how that happens, with Clayton as an example would the producers say to Michelle we think you should send him home as we know you aren’t that into him or do they ask her prior to the date and give her the option? Because producers are talking to the leads all day every day, they know who the lead is into and who they aren’t. They knew Michelle wasn’t keeping Clayton so that’s why he got that date. So she could let him go.

Also what happens if the bachelor/ette then changes their mind as a lot can change on a 1 on 1 date when they get a full day with that person instead of a snatched 10 mins here and there, what if they were to really build a connection over the date could the bachelor/ette then change their mind if required? It just makes no sense that a 1 on 1 is so much more valuable and can make such a difference to a connection yet the fate of that contestant is pre determined before the date has even started!

As always, thanks for everything you do Steve and I hope you and your family have an amazing Christmas.

Comment: I mean sure, I guess anything is possible. But without interviewing every past lead and asking them about all their 1-on-1’s and was there ever someone they planned on letting go before the date but ended up keeping, there’s really no way to ever know. And even now, I don’t know if any of them would ever truly admit it.

Hey Steve, can you tell me why I even watch this show anymore? Goodness. Last night was so scripted by production I couldn’t stand it. We have a strong black female lead and all they could do is have a fake attorney and a white man strip? What in the hell is going on with this show? The producers have got to STOP. There still could have been drama last night without pizzagate. Of course I’m still watching and I’m going to keep watching because it’s my guilty pleasure, but it’s getting out of hand with production inserting fake drama everywhere. Remember the days when no one went on for fame??? And it wasn’t over-produced?? Those were the glory days for this franchise. It’s getting out of control.

Comment: I’m sorry, but this isn’t that show anymore. Every contestant going on now is well aware of what could come from this show afterwards. They’re basically ALL going on for fame/clout/build a brand. You have to just accept it for what it is now. Social media has changed that and there’s nothing they can do other than lean into it.

Hi Steve,

Do you know if Joe self eliminates next week? Or does Michelle let him go? If the latter is true, this is the first season I can remember where not a single contestant self eliminated. How boring! Haha

Comment: I don’t know. I just know he’s the next one to go.

These next 3 emails are regarding Colton’s new show on Netflix. I wanted to put them all together rather than spread them out because they are opposing views of it.

Hi Steve,

I’m currently on episode 2 of Colton’s Netflix show. I really appreciated what you wrote this week in your column about the good that can come out of his show being seen on Netflix. I feel very strongly that even though everyone knows what he did after the breakup was wrong, and I feel awful for Cassie, I can still be supportive of Colton and where he is right now. We all make mistakes and one thing I am seeing over and over again online, is people deciding whether someone is allowed to learn and grow from their mistake, or whether they are “canceled” in that person’s mind. I remember when you were being put through the ringer a few months ago, I kept reading these comments and I would think to myself, “You have no idea how much Steve has changed over the years! He is a good person!” (And then Demi really showed her true colors on Bachelor in Paradise…) That all made me think about Taylor, and errors she made in the past, and Garrett. I appreciate it when you talk about people who have made mistakes, who have apologized, and who are actively trying to better themselves in the present. I definitely tend to want to give those people a chance. I really hope Colton’s story helps people, especially people who can relate to what he is going through. I have a lot of empathy for him. I just can’t get on board the whole, “he is a stalker and will always be one” mentality. It would be different if he never changed and kept up the same past behavior. I hope people give him a chance.

Hey Steve,

Just wanted to hear your take on Colton’s Netflix special. I figured you might have mentioned it in the column but maybe held back for readers email? Or maybe it’s simply that no one cares… Anyway, I thought the concept of televising someones coming out story as authentically as possible is a good thing. Many people who share similar struggles may find comfort in not being alone. I don’t know what was real or scripted but I did find most of his conversations, reactions and emotions were at the very least possible. They mentioned Cassie too much, I think with him not being able to talk about it, he references the situation to often and used it as his only example of spiraling. If he was truly out of control more then just his treatment of her would have been able to be used to back up his claims. Not that I think he’s being untruthful, I just think they could have used other behavior during that time to help tell the story.

Anyway, just wanted to know what your take on it was. I do think that this type of show could be marketed and impactful reaching many who are affected with the same type of story.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and enjoy the holiday season.


I just watched the first few episodes of Coming out Colton. I heard the documentary was supposed to be about Colton and Cassie and then was switched after their break up to be about him coming out as gay.

Warning: There are spoilers here so if your readers don’t want to spoiled, stop reading now. ?

I understand Colton wants to talk about his truth and the pain he has gone through being in the closet and I have a lot of empathy for that.

But the way he goes about it is awkward for me. I try to imagine being a parent and having my child come out to me unexpectedly in front of the cameras. What should be an intimate moment feels exploited for personal gain. I read an article where his father did not like that Colton came out to him as a surprise with the cameras running. Makes sense to me.

The most cringe moment for me so far was when Colton went back to his hometown in Illinois to talk with his football coach. He had painful memories about the homophobia in his high school locker room where other players would constantly make fun of gay people. He talked about how the prejudice in the small town had really affected him. He felt shame about who he was and it pushed him deeper into the closet.

In what I am sure the football coach assumed was a shoot where Colton was just showing people his hometown, the coach came on camera and Colton really let him have it with both barrels telling him what an awful person he was by participating in the homophobia and how hurtful it was to him.

Now I agree it was not good for the coach to be a vocally prejudice against gay people and participate in that ugly group consciousness. But for Colton to blindside him with that information on camera, I thought was really inappropriate. Colton had talked about earlier how much energy the coach had given him and how he was like a second father to him. You don’t treat your second father like that.

I have a lot of empathy for what it is like to grow up gay in a small town with a lot of prejudice against gay people. I think Colton has every right to his feelings. I liked Colton’s interactions with the other gay football players and his friend who is gay. But I think this documentary really went too far by trying to catch people’s in the moment responses to Colton’s revelations. It may be helpful for gay people who are scared to come out but I think it was unnecessarily hurtful to people he loves.

I have not even gotten to the Cassie part yet. I can’t imagine how painful this must be for her to have all of this dredged up again.

Comment: I have not watched the show. I’ve seen the clips that I feel I needed to see and read the episode recaps that People did. This is a very sensitive and divisive subject that I think all three emails can attest to. It’s another lose-lose situation talking about it anymore. Some people will watch and take something from it, and some people are disgusted he’s being given any sort of platform. There’s no middle ground. I have mixed feelings about it all, but I also think it’s not so black and white like everyone is making it. It’s much more nuanced than that because, to me, there are 3 different topics in regards to this whole documentary:

1) Will it help a child who is struggling with sexuality?
2) Is the Cassie stuff addressed properly?
3) Should he have been given a platform in the first place?

If someone answers no to the 3rd question, then 1 & 2 don’t matter to them. They don’t even want to address anything ever about it and immediately shut the whole thing down. I’m just saying there are topics to discuss from the documentary, which is why I think it’s more nuanced than people are making it out to be. But the second you start discussing them, you all the sudden become a Colton apologist and you hate Cassie and you don’t support her, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In my eyes, you can absolutely think this doc will help a child (or a few) struggling with their sexuality AND still think that what Colton did to Cassie was disgusting, scary, and something he’ll never live down for the rest of his life.

I think that Rodney came across as a stand up guy and probably the best marriage material… I have a feeling Nayte is too immature and still in party mode. They won’t last. She would be better off with Rodney. Do you agree?

Comment: I don’t know either well enough. And I’m not her. She made a decision that she thinks is right for her and only time will tell if she made the right one. The track record and history is against them.

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