• Tue, Jul 8 - 3:13 pm ET

The Bachelorette Exploited The Death Of A Contestant For Ratings, Which Is Super Cool

Andi Dorfman on The Bachelorette season ten presenting rose GIFIt’s not like The Bachelorette is exactly the pinnacle of ‘doing what is right on television’, but I was hopeful that they’d at least find a tasteful way of handling the tragic death of one of the show’s contestants, Eric Hill. And yet…no such luck.

If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s because the original news of Eric’s death after a hang-gliding accident broke about three months ago, while the show was still filming. It didn’t change the show’s outcome, because Andi Dorfman had already sent Eric home, but the news of his passing was bound to be jarring to Andi, who’d rejected him, and the rest of the guys who’d been his roommates and constant companions for weeks. 

The producers dedicated the season to him and put out a statement mourning his loss, but both of those things are kind of outweighed by the fact that they also televised the moment that they told the cast that Eric had died. And not only that, but they teased it throughout the episode just to keep people watching, which I felt was incredibly tacky.

I understand the need to tell everyone at the same time, and the fact that this is very difficult subject matter to handle, but I think the decision to air so much of the footage of everyone hearing about the tragedy was misguided. I think it was more about ratings than it was about honoring the life of a former contestant on the show, because instead of taking the time and space they needed to grieve however they wanted, everyone had to be on camera for the moment they heard. They had to have that extra layer of measuring their responses to make sure they’re fit for TV, and someone had to edit those responses down.

It’s just callous, and embarrassing, and it puts a lot of pressure on Andi to have an appropriate response. She had sent Eric home early after he offended her during an argument in Week 4. His death has nothing to do with her, but in the moments after she hears about it, she’s voicing her guilt for ‘kicking him out’ of the house. She’s making the story of his death about her, which is exactly what she’s encouraged to do when she’s given the news while a camera is pointed in her face.

Chris Harrison can defend the decision all he wants — and he has, in this Entertainment Weekly blog post – but for me, this was a clear case of the producers allowing their hunger for drama on the show to drown out their compassion for a man who spent only a brief portion of his all-too-short life on the set of their reality show.

(Image: Vulture)

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  • wispy

    So incredibly tacky. I love how they put their cameras down and kept on filming. Stupid.

    • CortCab

      That was the worst part for me! The way viewers were supposed to feel like it was such an emotional moment even the crew had to go grieve with and comfort one another, so they just abandoned their camera….which continued to film a perfectly framed shot…

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I know! So exploitative.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      And really really disappointing on a human level.

  • Valerie

    I hate this show with the passion of a million blazing suns.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      So. Inappropriate.

  • Kate

    The fact that they didn’t turn off her mic (or at least mute it from the broadcast) was absolutely disgusting, in my opinion. And I’m a begrudging fan of the show

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah, c’mon guys.

  • Quinn

    Just think of Eric’s last conversation with Andi-the one where he (in my opinion, rightfully) accused of her of putting on a show and playing a part…rings pretty true here (not that this is Andi’s fault.) It really bothers me that they have successfully made this about Andi rather than about Eric and his loved ones, I feel like he would have been offended (I sure as hell woulda been)

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Same here.

  • emilykwells2188

    I just need to take this opportunity to address how awkwardly she holds the roses – WHY does she hold it with both of her hands up in her face like that?! I know it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it’s probably the most annoying thing about her.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Hahaha I’m obsessed.