‘Bachelor Nation’ book: 5 shocking claims including high-pressure proposals, ‘Frankenbiting’
Here’s a metaphor the meat-loving Chad Johnson can sink his chompers into: Amy Kaufman is revealing how the sausage that is ABC’s dating franchise allegedly gets made in her debut book, Bachelor Nation.
‘Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure’ is available now. (Photo: Dutton)
The book penned by the Los Angeles Times film writer makes many claims about The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Here are the most unsettling.
1. Not all measures initiated after last summer’s production shutdown of Bachelor in Paradise were maintained
Filming for Paradise Season 4 was halted last June after a producer raised accusations of misconduct stemming from a sexual encounter with Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. Warner Bros.’ investigation concluded that the complaint was unsubstantiated and filming resumed.
Though ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey described the ordeal as “a little bit of a wake-up call” in August, it appears one change had little staying power. Vinny Ventiera, a Paradise contestant, says bartender Wells Adams manned a log to ensure participants stuck to a two drinks per hour maximum rule. However, Kaufman writes that according to contestant Daniel Maguire, that rule was not enforced. “There was no log,” Maguire told Kaufman. “If people really wanted to drink, they would find a drink somewhere.”
Kaufman vouches for another rule, however. She writes that a requirement that contestants seek producer permission before having sex “was followed strictly.”
2. Producers tracked the menstrual cycles of female contestants to get emotion-packed interviews
Ben Hatta, a former Bachelor/Bachelorette producer in the early 2000s, explained the benefit of the practice.. “So a girl’s now crying, mid-interview, about nothing, or being reactionary to things that are super-small,” he said. “It helped the producers, because now you’ve got someone who is emotional — and all you want is emotion.”
In the book, Kaufman explains how brutal interrogations can be through a role-playing exercise with Michael Carroll, an ex-producer who bragged about what he could make her say. In the scenario, Kaufman was being interviewed while on a date with The Bachelor. Things quickly became intense. “Watching you and him is like watching (expletive) paint dry,” Carroll told her. “I want to kill myself. You are boring me to death, and I know you’re way more fun. If you’re not into it, you can go home tomorrow if you want. You don’t have to be here.”
“The power of suggestion is real,” Kaufman writes, “especially when someone is berating you and making you feel like a disappointment.”
3. Editors have used “Frankenbiting” to manufacture their narrative of choice
Kaufman identified “Frankenbiting” (creating a sound bite that has been edited to have a different meaning) is a “main technique” editors use to create story lines. “There’s no allegiance to what happened to reality,” according to an editor employed for three seasons. “I don’t care what happens,” he said. “It’s like I’m handed a big bucket of LEGOs and think, ‘What do I want to build today?’ “
Kaufman realized how drastically different someone can be in real life compared with how they’re portrayed on the show when Bachelorette contestant J.J. Lane came to one of her viewing parties. “He came and he was so cool and normal, and that was the first time where I was like, ‘Oh, (expletive), they really are playing with the way that these people are depicted on television,’ ” she tells USA TODAY.
4. Producers cast contestants into roles using offensive language
“You’d pre-categorize (contestants) and have some shorthand as to who they were,” Carroll told Kaufman. “Mom. Southern Belle. The cheerleader. The (expletive). We all called them ridiculous names. The fat one, the hot one, the crier.”
Further making the case for the show’s disregard for its contestants, Kaufman says former Bachelor executive producer Scott Jeffress offered crew members $100 for evoking drama. “The first producer to get tears? A hundred bucks,” Kaufman writes. “Catch a chick puking on-camera? A hundred bucks!”
“I need to bring people back from commercial,” Jeffress explained.
5. Contestants have felt immense pressure to get engaged
“Almost every contestant I spoke with who made it to the finals said they felt they had no choice but to get engaged at the end…” writes Kaufman.
Jesse Csincsak, who was previously engaged to 2008’s Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas, says contestants “don’t have a choice, kind of.”
“There is no ‘What if I don’t propose’ option,” he tells Kaufman. “It’s just ‘Here’s the ring. Go give it to her.’ “
“When you’re twenty-five and you’re just a baby and you’re in a foreign place and are still hungover from the day before, they’re in you’re head,” he adds. “They make you do what they want you to do.”
Jen Schefft, the lead of The Bachelorette‘s third season in 2005, echoes his sentiments. “As the Bachelorette, she knew she didn’t want to marry either of her final two men, but still didn’t feel she could end the show without picking one of them to at least continue dating,” Kaufman says in Nation.
“The producers basically told me that I was coming across as a horrible person on television — a really cold, (expletive) person,” Schefft says in the book. “I always felt like I wanted to give them what they wanted, without being crazy. I was still true to myself, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.”
ABC declined to comment on the book’s claims.
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