The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss‘ sudden departure from the franchise came after an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination, according to a new report from our sister publication Variety.
Conducted over the past several months, the investigation reportedly yielded stories from key producers about Fleiss’ resistance to diversify the franchise, with unnamed staffers also describing “bullying” tactics he would employ.
“People said he would retaliate against people for having minorities and Black people on the show,” a source tells Variety of the investigation. “He favored certain people over other people. He would say, ‘Minorities don’t get ratings.'”
Fleiss did respond to Variety‘s report, acknowledging that “times have certainly changed” in the 21 years since The Bachelor‘s premiere, even admitting that the franchise “didn’t keep up with the pace of those changes.” Although he’s “proud” of how diverse the franchise has become in recent years, he knows that he “could have done more” and hopes the franchise “will continue to move in the right direction” without him.
The franchise’s creator announced his departure earlier this week, thanking Warner Bros. Television and ABC for 21 “extraordinary” years. “They’ve found the perfect creative team for me to entrust The Bachelor franchise and keep this lightening in a bottle bold and moving forward,” he said at the time. “Let the journey continue.”
No explanation was given for Fleiss’ departure at the time, and reps for both ABC and Warner Bros. Television declined comment.