Every rose has its thorn, and we’d say this is a pretty big thorn in the side of Bachelor Nation. On July 16, just days after filing for divorce, Bachelor creator/overlord Mike Fleiss was accused of physically attacking his pregnant wife Laura Fleiss. According to documents obtained by Variety, Laura filed for an emergency domestic violence restraining order after an alleged July 4 incident at the couple’s home in Hawaii, when she says Fleiss physically attacked her and demanded she have an abortion.
The allegations are horrifying. Here, everything we know so far:
What are the allegations?
According to the reported court documents, Laura alleges that on July 4 her husband violently attacked her and demanded she get an abortion. “While we were at our house in Kauai, Mike demanded that I get an abortion,” Laura said in the documents. “Our son Ben was in the house, seated in another room nearby. Mike told me, ‘If you have an abortion, then we can just go back to the way we were.'” The altercation was caught on the couple’s security cameras and Laura and her lawyers provided photos of bruises on Laura’s arm.
On July 5, Laura says that Fleiss continued to berate her, calling her a “low-rent gold-digger,” “$50,000 whore,” and a “stupid c-nt.”
— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) July 16, 2019
And on July 6, Laura says that her now estranged-husband “grabbed (her) body” and “forcibly pinned (her) up against the wall,” before threatening to punch her in the face. He also allegedly forcibly pushed her off the side of his truck.
These actions are said to have followed earlier threats by Fleiss and anger over Laura’s pregnancy, for which Fleiss allegedly threatened to cut her off financially. “While Mike has frequently been verbally abusive towards me during our marriage, in recent weeks, he has become enraged, due to the fact I am pregnant with our second child,” Laura’s statement reads. “Mike told me many times that he did not want us to have a second child. He also repeatedly told me throughout our marriage, and prior to our marriage, that he knew he would ‘have to have’ one child with me because I was 26 years old when we got married, did not yet have any children, and he knew I wanted to have a family. Mike, however, being 55 years old, did not want to have more than one child together.”
In response, Fleiss claims that he was actually attacked by Laura, and says that she had been dishonest about being on birth control after the couple had agreed to not have a second child. Fleiss says that it wasn’t until July 3 that he learned his wife hadn’t been on birth control at all and “lied… in order to get pregnant so she could have another baby even though we agreed not to,” according to The Blast.
What’s going to happen next?
After Laura went to police on July 16, a temporary restraining order was granted against Fleiss. A hearing for a long-term restraining order is currently scheduled for August 6.
Has anyone in Bachelor Nation responded?
Not yet. Since the allegations surfaced it’s been *crickets* from the usually vocal franchise. And we shouldn’t expect anything, according to Bachelor Nation insider and king of spoilers, Reality Steve.
Gonna be reeeeeeeal interesting to see who from Bachelor Nation, especially people in “power” or high up the totem pole, even speak a word on this Fleiss story on social media.
— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) July 16, 2019
“I’m sure there’s a gag order being sent down from higher ups,” Reality Steve told FLARE about the silence from the show. “A lot of these contestants are in good with the show [and if] they throw their opinion out on this they’ll be blackballed.”
And as for everyone’s favourite TV dad Chris Harrison? Definitely don’t expect to hear anything from him—he’s in tight with Fleiss. “Chris Harrison officiated Fleiss’ wedding,” says Reality Steve. “[There’s] zero chance he’ll speak on this, and if he does, it’ll be to say ‘Going through tough times, let the story play out, we don’t know everything that happened, etc.'” So, pretty much a non-answer.
“The story has been out for almost a day now and I haven’t seen any contestant touch this story, which shows how much they’re petrified of getting on the show’s bad side,” says Reality Steve.
Which is super telling—for both the culture the show has created (a toxic don’t-bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you mentality) *and* previous Bachelor contestants. Their unwillingness to speak out on some seriously horrendous allegations just confirms what we’ve all come to know—thanks in large part to the huge sponcon deals any and all Bachelor contestants rake in post-show—they’re here for the dollars and the fame, and, probably to the glee of the franchise itself, won’t bite the hand that feeds them; no matter how seriously problematic the people who created their cash cow may be.
So, what does this mean for the franchise?
Honestly, probably nothing. The Bachelor franchise is pretty much an institution at this point, with 37 total seasons of The Bachelor and Bachelorette under its belt and a bevy of super popular spinoffs. And, the franchise has already experienced serious allegations—like the June 2017 “sex scandal” between Bachelor in Paradise contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson—and come out the other end relatively unscathed. “I don’t think the show is going anywhere,” says Reality Steve.
While Fleiss may have created the show, Reality Steve says he hasn’t been a part of the day-to-day operations for a long time, aside from appearances on the first night and live-tweeting throughout the season. Which means, even if he is shamed or ousted from the franchise, The Bachelor machine as we know it will probably continue to churn out rapidly formed, questionably authentic relationships.
“He may have created the show, but that’s all it is at this point,” says Reality Steve. “The show could absolutely go on without him because he’s passed it off in recent years to let others handle the daily work.”
Are people really surprised?
Tbh, not really. As awful as the allegations against Fleiss are, a lot of Bachelor Nation fans took to social media to express their distaste, but not necessarily their shock. As Twitter user @Danielaespo tweeted: “Are we really surprised Mike Fleiss is an abusive, misogynistic prick? The man has shown no regard for the casting of his show, has allowed fellow men of his nature back onto the franchise and has never once stood up to speak out on said behaviour.”
Are we really surprised Mike Fleiss is an abusive, misogynistic prick? The man has shown no regard for the casting of his show, has allowed fellow men of his nature back onto the franchise and has never once stood up to speak out on said behaviour. #TheBachelorette
— Daniela (@DanielaEspo) July 16, 2019
This is the same man who told Season 11 Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe that her only passion should be her fiancé after all. Which in itself isn’t an indicator of abusive behaviour, but seriously contextualizes what a patriarchal person he is.
Under Fleiss’ watch, the show has given a platform to several men who have been accused of domestic and sexual assault, and continuously allows toxic men like this season’s Luke P to thrive.
So, all in all—not a great guy and we’ll see what the courts have to say.