- The Bachelor -Bachelor Experts Explain Where The Franchise Can Go After Colton Underwood’s Coming Out
As Billy Eichner predicted, Bachelor Nation has officially already had its first gay Bachelor, and we didn't even know it. Two years after Colton Underwood stepped into the starring role on the ABC dating show, he came out as gay in a Good Morning America interview.
While chatting with Robin Roberts, he shared that it took him a long time to learn how to accept himself and be proud of who he is. He also shared how his journey on reality TV helped him get where he is today as he both apologized to and thanked the women who were on his season for being part of that, inadvertently or otherwise.
But how does Bachelor fan accounts actually feel about his news — and what it might mean for The Bachelor as a franchise? The Dipp spoke to two Bachelor influencers to get their take on situation and take stock of where fans stand today.
There's a lot of excitement for Colton
"We are totally rooting for [him] moving forward!" the people behind the @bachelorusa Instagram account said. "I am so immensely happy for Colton! I know there was intense speculation over the last couple of years, including when his season of The Bachelor aired about his sexuality. Given his interview with Good Morning America, it seemed like those things and getting through his season helped him to realize and see more clearly who he really is. I am so excited for him [that he's] able to share his honest self with the world now."
Erin Hill, host of the Get'n Cozy with Erin Hill podcast and cohost of Bach After Dark, agreed. "I think it's great he is living his truth," she shared. "It takes a lot of courage to come out in his position knowing so many will judge and talk about it."
However, that excitement doesn't come without reservations
For Erin, she doesn't want her support for someone living their truth to come at the expense of anyone they've hurt. While Colton apologized to his ex Cassie Randolph during the GMA segment, he only briefly alluded to the allegations of stalking and harassment that she made when she filed for a restraining order against him in September 2020, something she later withdrew. In November, Colton shared a statement with People about how they settled the matter privately, but he never addressed the accusations directly.
During the interview, the former football player admitted that he "messed up" at the end of their relationship and "made a lot of bad choices." However, some fans have taken to social media to share that they think the apology didn't go far enough. I personally struggled with how he passively said he "wished it wouldn't have happened the way it did" without fully acknowledging his actions were directly responsible.
While Erin wants to people to support Colton coming out, she doesn't want anyone to forget about or "belittle what happened" between the exes. "It doesn't take away from his disturbing past behavior with his ex Cassie," she shared.
That said, neither influencer is upset about Colton "misleading" anyone about his sexuality
"Of course there are those who are confused and surprised about this because he went on the show and dated a plethora of amazing women, and what I'd say to them is that sexuality is fluid, acceptance and realization does not happen overnight, and it does not happen without experiencing life," the @bachelorusa team shared.
"Although he is not with a woman and won't be any longer, the amazing women from his season were a secret blessing in disguise to guide him in his life," they continued. "Those women and Colton all deserve love and true happiness at the end of the day."
Erin shared a similar sentiment."People are asking why he would agree to being the Bachelor if he was gay, but I don't believe he fully knew himself until recently," she said. "I don't question him taking an opportunity like that."
They'd like to see other gay stars get that same opportunity
When it comes to an actual gay season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, Erin is all in. However, like The Dipp's Olivia Truffaut-Wong, she's not sure if the show itself is ready to take that step.
"I would hope they would consider it sooner than later, but given how long it's taken to have POC leads, I'm just not holding my breath," she said. "I hope we can see more diversity in our leads and eventually [see that become] inclusive of sexuality."
The @bachelorusa crew is also down to include more gay representation in the franchise, but they think the format of Bachelor in Paradise might be a better fit instead of having just one star searching for The One among 30 different contestants.
"If you have a gay Bachelor," they explained, "relationships between contestants may form, which would take away from the Bachelor lead. In a Paradise format, you'd have the openness of being able to explore multiple relationships to find a partner."
A potential bonus would be that more than one love story could be highlighted — but, regardless, they're ready to see what comes next. "I hope Colton ends up being the catalyst for an introduction of something like this to Bachelor Nation," they shared.