Bachelor in Paradise season 5 was, in total, 23 hours of television spread out over a solid month and a half. That's longer than a full season of Grey's Anatomy, which aired 24 45-minute episodes last season. And yet, ABC found room for all 23 of these hours, in part because BIP takes up not one, but two whole time slots in the week. And, episodes last two hours. Last Monday, one episode lasted a full three hours, a run time just shy of Return of the King. What happened during these hours? Well, flip-flopping aside, two couples got engaged and two couples, er, started dating.
One of the engaged couples, though, is already on the rocks — blogger Reality Steve revealed yesterday that Jenna Cooper had been allegedly playing Jordan Kimball the whole time. The blogger received a tip from an anonymous man who said that Cooper allegedly "uses" men for money, that her stint on BIP was all for show, a "networking" effort to promote her business. Cooper is accused of scamming Kimball the same way Bachelor in Paradise scammed us all. Cooper, who denied the allegations in a statement to People, is being cast as the villain here, but she's no worse than the show itself. This is Bachelor in Paradise: There are no rules. There are only cameras and desperation.
The "summer of scam" is an internet-born term that came about after New York magazine published a lengthy exposé on fake heiress Anna Delvey. Delvey, who is currently in a Rikers Island jail awaiting trial, used a series of wire transfers and fake receipts to cheat a whole lot of people out of a whole lot of money. Then, there was Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. In July, the LA Times did a deep-dive on literary mystery Anna March. The Cut is currently selling a T-shirt dedicated to the summer of scam.
Cooper is here at the tail end of summer, right after the white-pants cutoff and just before the autumnal equinox. And, if the allegations against her are true, she's a fitting end, a scammy participant into a scammy show.
"She uses men for money and business help and loves the attention along the way. And she just loves to rub in your face that she’s pretty and everyone wants her and how she can easily move onto the next," the man (still anonymous) told the blogger. In the accompanying text messages, Cooper is portrayed as someone who is doing Bachelor in Paradise because she "needs the money."
"I know you're upset about this week's episodes but I told you yesterday and I keep telling you that this is all for my business," Cooper allegedly wrote in a text message. "You know how much I need the money. Me and Jordan aren't together for real...He means nothing to me and never has."
Cooper, 28, is a social media manager who resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. On The Bachelor, she was peppy and generally liked, although she didn't last long on the show. On the Bachelor's Reddit page, a poster who claims to be Bekah Martinez, a fellow contestant, described her as someone who swung between being calm and being overly excited. (Refinery29 has reached out to Cooper for additional comment.) She's one of Bachelor Nation's more elusive candidates — she doesn't seem to spend a lot of time in Los Angeles with the rest of them, and she's yet to pick up a hearty sponsorship like the rest of them have. On Bachelor in Paradise, she was fun but inscrutable, flitting between Kimball and a few other suitors, including David Ravitz and Benoît Beauséjour-Savard. Despite all this, she and Kimball got engaged, just after she told him that she was sure God had sent him to her.
Cooper isn't the only controversy from this season. BIP also saw the entry of Leandro Dottavio, a stuntman, who was later accused of sexual misconduct by several anonymous sources via Martinez. (This is the same girl who also shared on Reddit about Cooper. Keep up!) He got into the season's only physical altercation, lunging at Joe Amabile at a rose ceremony.
"Have fun with grocery store bitch!" he yelled.
Dottavio is currently on leave from his job at WaterWorld following the accusations. He also told The Blast that he's looking to take legal action against Martinez. Meanwhile, ABC and Bachelor in Paradise have yet to comment on Dottavio's history. He was present at the BIP after show, but did not speak, presumably to keep the controversy to a minimum.
Then, there are the little, feeble controversies — tiny scams that Bachelor in Paradise gets away with because it's reality TV, we're in a summer content drought, and the beach is mighty appealing. The show foisted Colton Underwood on us, the "Prince of Paradise," seemingly for no reason. Then, he left the show and announced he was headed to be the next Bachelor. Bachelor in Paradise was just an audition. Then, there's the silly controversies like Shushanna Mkrtychyan being accused of being a witch and Ravitz being the one to bring Cooper a birthday cake instead of Kimball.
Here's a thing: None of these things are out of the ordinary for reality television. Reality TV is a whole lot of bloat with not so much substance. Half of the 23 hours of footage from this season of Bachelor in Paradise was probably reused footage — clips that teased an upcoming segment or recaps of previous events. Bachelor in Paradise just so happens to be the most obnoxious culprit because it's so insistent that people will actually "find love." In reality, they'll find a few fun weeks on the beach with some cameras. If Cooper leveraged her time there for a few bucks, hey, so did everyone else.
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