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‘The Bachelorette’ Spoilers: ABC Receives More Backlash for Exploiting Matt James’ Family Trauma

‘The Bachelorette’ spoilers have found that audiences did not enjoy watching what should have been a very private moment between Matt James and his estranged father, Manny last week. And Matt did not enjoy knowing the entire country was watching.

Matt has sung his mother, Patty’s praises throughout season 25 of The Bachelor, but little was known about his absentee father. However, the lack of Manny’s presence in his life has deeply affected Matt’s relationships as an adult and so, before he made his final decision, he wanted to sit down and speak with father.

‘The Bachelorette’ Spoilers: ABC Receives More Backlash for Exploiting Matt James’ Family Trauma

As the conversation played out on our screens, Matt tweeted out a series of messages.

“Tonight’s convo with my dad was hard to experience, and it’s just as hard to watch all this time later, especially knowing the world is watching with me,” the 29-year-old tweeted.

“I just wanted to say that too often, we see dangerous stereotypes and negative depictions of Black fathers in media. And they have consequences when presented without context.

All I hope is that people watch that conversation with nuance, care, and also an understanding that there are real systemic issues at play. I’m so proud of myself for being vulnerable, and I’m so proud of my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad. That’s a fact.”

A flood of support came in for the Bachelor lead, however, others asked why Matt and his father both consented to having the conversation on camera if they didn’t want it on air.

Sure, the production team responsible for the ABC franchise is no stranger to being called manipulative (I’m being nice here), but surely two grown men could have decided to have this conversation at another time/place.

‘The Bachelorette’ Spoilers: The name of the game is exploitation when it comes to reality TV.

Rachel Lindsay, unsurprisingly jumped into the fray, denouncing the aired conversation as perpetuating black stereotypes. However, Rachel fully participated when Dean Unglert took her to visit his estranged father during the home towns episode of season 13 of the Bachelorette.

Dean’s discomfort during the home visit when both Rachel and Bachelor Nation met his eccentric father who had converted to Sikh Kundalini yogi and now goes by Paramroop Singh Khalsa was heartbreakingly uncomfortable to watch.

In fact his entire family situation and emotional conversation with his father during the hometown visits was, not surprisingly, labeled as exploitative.

So, are people seeing racist under (or over) tones where there are none, or do these types of conversations need to differ depending on race (and gender, and age etc.)?

Probably. The only way to stop something truly problematic from airing is to have diversity among the decision makers. Maybe add a person of color to the senior production/decision making team. Perhaps a woman and some younger folk from the “woke generation”.

Then again, the shocks and controversies surrounding season 25 have made it the most talked about season of the Bachelor to date- not bad for a show that is almost 20 years old.

You can bet ABC doesn’t mind who is exploited or offended, they are laughing all the way to the bank. And we are glued to our screens.

Watch the finale of season 25 of The Bachelor this Monday, March 15 starting at 8pm ET on ABC.

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