If you're a Bachelor Nation super fan, then you may recognize the name Mike Fleiss. He's the creator of The Bachelor franchise and thus the gate keeper to all things rose-and-champagne. (If you're imagining this guy from UnReal, then you're not too far off.) The 52-year-old producer rarely makes headlines for himself, but is now the subject of conversation after a heated exchange with former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe.
It all started the way most arguments start — on Twitter. Leading up to the official announcement that perma-reality show contestant Nick Viall would join the cast of ABC's popular series, Dancing With The Stars, Fleiss teased his excitement about the news on his Twitter feed. In one he wrote, "A major announcement regarding #TheBachelor is coming tonite. TGI-#bachelormonday !!!" followed by "The official historic announcement regarding #thebachelor is coming shortly..." and "I am happy to announce that @viallnicholas28 will be doing some dancing in the near future!!! #TheBachelor."
But the thing is, a male former Bachelor or Bachelorette contestant joining the DWTS family is, in fact, neither "historic" nor "major." Viall is the third one to participate, following Sean Lowe and Jake Pavelka. Additionally, Fleiss' public outbursts of excitement feel like a direct jab at Bristowe, who previously expressed her interest in appearing on the show until he spoke publicly about his disapproval of her joining. Former Bachelor contestant Whitney Bischoff brought this up in a tweet reading "@people why does a bachelorette never get this gig @BachelorABC?!? I wanted to see @kaitlynbristowe shake her tail feather!"
In response, the refreshingly candid Bristowe responded clarifying that she was very close to appearing on the show until Fleiss used his authority to not let it move forward. The double standard Bristowe describes is upsetting.
She goes on to make fun of his over-exaggerated word choice, giving him a taste of his own medicine.
Then Fleiss started getting bombarded by tweets calling him out for his blatantly sexist behavior. To cover his ass, he attempted to extent an olive branch to Bristowe who, instead, brilliantly clapped back. His tweet is the epitome of "too little too late."
Bristowe then ends her side of the conversation by using the applicable "sips tea" meme.
But wait! There's more.
While the Bristowe vs. Fleiss feud was happening, the producer attempted to deflect from his sexist treatment of the women on his shows by bringing up that one former Bachelor contestant Melissa Rycroft. (Whom he only refers to as Melissa R. because remembering women's full names is, like, hard.) Not only has Rycrof been on DWTS, but she also won (which is what the "mirror ball" refers to). Which is great, but also further proves Bristowe's point that there is a lot of potential for the females of Bachelor Nation to have a positive and lucrative experience on the ABC network series.
Bouncing off of that tweet, another spectre from Fleiss' past appeared: Trista Sutter, the runner-up from season 1 of The Bachelor. (We're currently on season 21!) Sutter reminded Fleiss that she also competed on the DWTS way back during its first season in 2005. Although she was eliminated almost immediately in the second round, she still was on it and felt inclined to remind him.
Sticking his foot farther in his mouth, Fleiss then remarked "Ryan is your mirrorball!" to which Sutter responded "ha! A treasure, for sure, but I'm not sure he'd like to be known as a trophy!"
In the midst of all this, fans really let Fleiss have it. From the looks of his current tweets, he won't be addressing the many, many fans finding various issues with the news, and his tweets.