Chris Harrison: producers didn’t tell Ashley because it’d “affect her journey” (and wreck their show)

After Monday night’s shocking! most amazing ever! exit from The Bachelorette, when Bentley lied to Ashley about why he was leaving and callously talked behind her back, Chris Harrison is defending the shows’ producers decision to not clue Ashley in to Bentley’s lying.

Chris told TV Guide, “I’m catching heat and the producers are catching heat, but the only way we could have told her everything about Bentley was to completely affect her journey. What line do we not want to cross? Then it really opens up Pandora’s box and where to we stop the line? Do I tell her a snide comment that J.P. just made or ‘Oh I heard William said something about you too’? Why would she even date these guys when she could just go to the producers and watch the tapes and see how they act. It completely undermines everything we’ve been about for the entire show. I know it’s a sketchy grey area, but that’s the line we’ve drawn and we’ve stuck to it.”

First, the slippery slope argument is pretty much bullshit (and fallacious), because there’s a big difference between the guy she’s fallen in love with lying to her as if he was a sociopath, and someone saying something funny or rude behind her back. One is expected; the other is not.

What Chris leaves out, of course, is that allowing Ashley to be emotionally distraught by Bentley’s assholish behavior makes for much better television. So, they let her be devastated and cry, and have better footage to contrast with his unfeeling comments. Chris likes to pretend that he cares about the bachelor or bachelorette, but I wish he’d just admit that he cares about his TV show and job more than about them as human beings.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.