The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have spawned thirty-four seasons of reality dating show goodness, not including spin-off series Bachelor Pad, Bachelor Live, and Bachelor in Paradise. A little overkill? Probably. But whether you love trashy romance reality television or not, you have to admit that the franchise has had some controversial, shocking, and pretty hilarious moments.
Even if you just viewed the show in passing or to bash it, it is really easy to get sucked into the drama from even casually viewing the show, in which a bachelor or bachelorette selects a life partner from a selection of candidates over the course of several weeks. Ultimately, the goal even season is a happy marriage-- but when cameras, sex, jealousy, and potential reality television fame (or infamy) get into the mix, things get complicated.
If you have a television franchise that's able to survive fifteen years, you've got to shake things up a bit. These famous controversial moments from The Bachelor franchise include scandals, jaw-dropping revelations, twists, turns, and even legal controversies that have made it onto the show for our petty, juicy, gossip-loving pleasure.
Without further ado, here are the 16 Most Controversial Things The Bachelor Franchise Has Done.
15 DeMario's secret girlfriend (Bachelorette season 13)
DeMario Jackson makes this list a few times, first during his stint on Rachel Lindsay's season on The Bachelorette. The scene was so painful, yet so hilarious to watch.
While DeMario was on a basketball date with Rachel, a young woman named Lexi suddenly crashes the date. She rips him a new one, claiming that they were dating while DeMario was on the show. DeMario initially pretended to have no idea who the girl was, then changed his story to say they were kind of dating, then said that he broke things off with Lexi before the show began filming.
Lexi denies this, and Rachel's taking no crap from the two-timer. She quite eloquently tells him to "get the f**k out" and DeMario is eliminated, and we all get to enjoy his priceless facial expressions and verbal beating from Lexi, all while wearing a ridiculous purple basketball getup.
14 Ben tells two different contestants he loves them (Bachelor season 20)
Shocking? Yes. Kind of hilarious in the most awkward way? Also yes.
You can't just drop the L bomb like that, especially when you haven't given out the last rose to the woman you choose to be in a relationship with. The bachelor with the perfect smile, Ben Higgins was clearly genuinely looking for love, but he seemed to think he could get it from more than one girl. Ben told contestant Jojo Fletcher that he loved her, and not soon after reciprocated when contestant Lauren Bushnell told him that she was in love with him. The double whammy shocked fans.
Ben eventually sent Jojo home, and Lauren went on to receive the final rose. The couple eventually broke up and canceled their wedding engagement.
13 Bentley's horrid treatment of Ashley (Bachelorette season 7)
On Ashley Hebert's season of The Bachelorette, contestant Bentley Williams was definitely the bad boy-- if by "bad boy" you mean "douchebag." He was absolutely horrendous to Ashley during his time on the show. He constantly talked about how he was going to make her cry, would rather "swim in p--- than plan a wedding" with her, said he didn't find her attractive, only wanted sex, and used his daughter as an excuse to bail on the show-- and then said that having to comfort the crying Ashley was "annoying."
The worst part is that Ashley started to develop feelings for him, resulting in a really sad very public portrayal of an abusive relationship. Luckily, when Bentley returned to the show, Ashley eventually booted him.
12 Jesse calls out the wrong name (Bachelor season 5)
Now that's awkward. Maybe the crew should have given the contestants of Jesse Palmer's season of The Bachelor some name tag sticks.
We have to give the guy a break, though. After being bombarded by twenty-four different women, who wouldn't find it pretty tough to remember their names all at once, especially under the pressure of finding someone to marry? During his first rose ceremony Jesse accidentally called out Katie's name instead of Karen, and after consulting Chris Harrison, had to awkwardly correct himself: “I’m very embarrassed to tell you this. Katie, I accidentally called out the wrong name."
Both of the girls were given the option to stay over his mistake and neither of them won, but Katie must have felt pretty humiliated over the whole situation.
11 Jake and Vienna's name-calling (Bachelor season 14)
In what is probably the most famous post-finale interview on The Bachelor, Jake Pavelka and winner Vienne Girardi sat down (with Jake visibly leaning away) and revealed that the two had split.
Vienna claimed that only a month into dating that the two began having problems, rarely interacted as a couple when the cameras were on, and that Jake was a lying, emotionally abusive person. What starts as a somber interview turns even darker when Jake interrupts Vienna to say he is "disgusted" by her for telling the tabloids about their breakup, and Vienna calls him a "liar" and a "fame whore." They continue to bicker back in forth about awful things the other has done, and Jake starts to come off as a little bit scary.
Chris Harrison awkwardly watches the two argue for a solid ten minutes-- and so did we. Yikes.
10 Bachelorette or Jersey Shore? (Bachelorette season 8)
Almost every season of The Bachelorette has at least one or two drunk guys in the first episode, but none of them take the cake (or tequila) quite like Tim McCormack in Ashley Hebert's season. Tim, who is shockingly also a liquor distributor, got absolutely smashed while Ashley was meeting and getting to know the other contestants. He got so completely trashed that he had to be taken away in a van before the first rose ceremony even started.
McCormack told People Magazine that he was shocked by his own behavior: “I really don’t know how I got that bad. Alcohol has never affected me like that before and I work in the industry.” Even if he doesn't remember the night, it's going to be out there on Bachelorette reruns for years to come and everybody's viewing pleasure.
9 Kalon calls Emily's daughter "baggage" (Bachelorette season 8)
Don't disrespect someone's kid, dude. Especially if you're trying to woo their mom and, you know, marry her.
On Emily Maynard's season of The Bachelorette, suitor Kalon McMahon told the other guys that he considered Emily's daughter to be "baggage", among other rude comments about Emily. Of course the contestants outed him to the bachelorette, who famously confronted him about the comment in front of all the other guests.
Kalon, who also came from a single mother, refused to apologize, made excuses that effectively dug a deeper hole for himself, and Emily then threw him out. The eventual winner, Jef, comforted a shook up Emily after the confrontation and handled the situation like a real man. "If Ricki's baggage," said Jef, "then she's a Chloe handbag I want to have forever."
8 Rozlyn's affair with a producer (Bachelor season 14)
Why would anybody go on a show like The Bachelor, which has an ultimate goal of matching two people together for the goal of a long term relationship, if they're not completely into it? That's what we all wanted to know from The Bachelor contestant Rozlyn from Jake Pavelka's season.
Rozlyn was kicked off that show after it was discovered that she was having a relationship, or at least hooking up, with one of the show's own producers. Chris Harrison had to do the dirty work and confront Rozlyn, telling her the producer had been fired and that she needed to get out. Rozlyn has continued to maintain her innocence over the matter. If she was being honest, good for her. She missed a potential disaster with Jake.
7 Nick hooked up with Andi during filming and shamed her on TV (Bachelorette season 10)
The Bachelorette is basically a pool of drama, but the series' aftershow, After The Rose, was often where the biggest confrontations and dramatic reveals happened.
Nick Viall, a contestant on Andi Dorfman's Bachelorette season, revealed a pretty big shocker on After The Rose-- he and Andi had sex in the fantasy suites during the show. Nick went on to shame Andi for sleeping with him, saying: "If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure [like] why you made love with me."
Below the belt, as Andi described his comment? Maybe. But you can't sleep with contestants before giving out your final rose, Andi, come on! It was hard to not feel bad for the guy, who also went on to participate in another Bachelorette season.
6 The infamous tattoo (Bachelorette season 6)
It's a common rule for anybody who dates: Never get a tattoo of someone you're currently with, especially if the relationship is fresh. Or in Kasey Kahl's case, before a relationship even starts.
On Ali Fedotowsky's season of The Bachelorette, Kasey decided to get a tattoo of a protected heart in Ali's honor after famously telling the bachelorette "I'm here to guard and protect your heart" and breaking into song. As if that whole scene wasn't awkward enough, Kasey seemed to think that a tattoo would woo Ali further.
When did Kasey reveal the fresh ink? Right after failing to receive a rose, of course. Kasey is apparently unbothered by the six-inch tattoo on his wrist, and claims that it's a visual representation of his character.
5 Brad doesn't pick a winner (Bachelor season 15)
Of all the meatheads to participate on The Bachelor, Brad Womack definitely takes the cake. The dude seriously did not know what he wanted on the show, and he wrapped up his season with a massive twist-- he decided to pick neither of the final contestants.
After sending home Jenni Croft, Brad seemed like he was ready to either propose to finalist DeAnna Pappas or at least give her a rose and try a relationship out. To eveyone's shock (especially DeAnna's), Brad anxiously rejects her, claiming that he just can't look her in the eye and tell her he loves her.
After a very awkward side hug and DeAnna's departure, the season wraps up with Brad sitting alone with puffy eyes and a single rose. Tragic.
4 Justin had two girls on the side while filming (Bachelorette season 6)
Some people just love fame. Maybe that's why Justin Rego decided to join the cast of Ali Fedotowsky's season of The Bachelorette when he already had not one, but two girls on the side. Suddenly, the confrontation with DeMario doesn't seem so bad.
One of Justin's girlfriends called Ali in tears, claiming that he was using the both of them-- he only came on the show to get famous and promised the side girl they'd be married, but then found out that he had another secret girlfriend.
Justin cowardly tried to run off and avoid a confrontation and then failed to defend himself or his actions. Ali was having none of it. "It’s unspeakable what you’ve done! I came here to find a husband, and you’re f**king with that?" He was obviously eliminated.
3 Jason pulls the ol' switcheroo (Bachelor season 13)
Sometimes love can be tricky and messy. This is especially the case for the very confused Jason Mesnick, who pulled one of the most shocking Bachelor moves in the show's history.
After proposing to Melissa Rycroft and giving her the final rose at the end of his season, Molly Malaney was forced to walk away and accept his choice. The two appeared for their final interview on After The Final Rose, where Jason famously claimed that Melissa and himself don't have as much chemistry as himself and Molly did.
After getting a good verbal lashing, he got the ring back from Melissa and proposed to Molly instead. The two were soon married on television and are together to this day. They even have a couple of kids.
2 Juan's sexual harassment (Bachelor season 18)
Juan Pablo Galavis is known hands down as the biggest playboy the Bachelor has ever produced. For someone who really wanted to find a wife, he didn't have much self-control when it came to sleeping with different girls and dismissing their feelings. He was also a massive creep, according to Clare Crawley.
While on their final date of the season, Juan allegedly whispered sexually explicit things in her ear during what should have been a romantic moment. When she wasn't chosen at the end of the season, she ripped him apart for the creepy comments and for being a terrible father. "He chose to tell me something that no woman wants to hear. That he doesn’t know me and some sexual thing I don’t want to repeat. It was insulting and offensive."
1 DeMario's sexual assault scandal (Bachelor in Paradise)
Number one on this list definitely has to be the recent scandal involving Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise star DeMario Jackson and Bachelor star Corinne Olympios. Corinne accused DeMario of sexually assaulting her while she was limp and blackout drunk in a pool. According to DeMario, the two had some drinks when Corinne began to make out with him before suggesting they go to the pool where they had a consensual encounter.
So what really happened? Is DeMario a rapist, or a victim of African American men being profiled and falsely accused? DeMario isn't known for being the best person on the planet, given the situation with the angry girlfriend on The Bachelorette. But The Bachelor franchise is also a franchise fully capable of fabricating drama for the views. Perhaps we'll never know the truth.
Do you have any other Bachelor drama to share? Leave it in the comments!