The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but in the case of The Bachelorette, the squeakiest wheel may be the most sleazy.
Case in point: one of Hannah B.’s potential suitors has just been exposed as a DM slider. Twitter user @SamSmithburger has outed Matthew B., of Winter Springs, FL, as the guy who had allegedly been blowing up her inbox for the past two years. It's the first scandal of this season of The Bachelorette, but unlike other Bachelor scandals, we may never get to see it come to life on TV.
First, let's breakdown what's going on in this viral tweets.
Smithburger shared her receipts on Twitter, which consist of several screenshots that appear to be unsolicited messages spanning from January 2017 to November 2018. Although Smithburger replied to none of Matthew B.’s DMs, he continued to message her, apparently being unable to take a hint. The messages are your garden variety obnoxious come-ons, like “I’m not giving up on you,” and “Hey I’m still alive,” and our personal, uh, favorite: “Sam not sure what happened to us but can we at least meet.” He also replied to one of her Instagram story selfies with “Seriously?” as in, “Seriously? You’re going to post hot selfies and not reply to my messages because I am a creepy entitled man?”
Of course, there’s a plot twist. Another Twitter user, @VicMoheb, claimed that she was dating Matthew B. at the same time he allegedly sent the messages to Smithburger. “Also looking at these receipts,” she wrote on Twitter, “I dated him towards the end of 2017 very beginning of 2018 and this is around the time he was messaging her…” If this is true, Matthew B. should be evicted from the Bachelor mansion.
This mini-scandal underscores how male contestants on last seasons of The Bachelorette have more baggage than their packed bags when they get sent home. During Becca Kufrin’s season, cast members Leo Dottavio and Lincoln Adim were accused of sexual assault; in Adim’s case, he was convicted of indecent assault and battery. Garrett Yrigoyen, who Kufrin ultimately picked, was discovered to have posted and liked sexist and racist memes on social media. He later apologized.
With all these problems with contestants on the show, whose job should it be to vet them? In all of the above instances, the audience did the grunt work of vetting these contestants which, to me, feels like the network's short-term solution to accidentally casting "shady" men. Even the wording in the Facebook posts revealing Hannah B's potential suitors hinted that many of these guys would not make it to the mansion. This idea that these guys "may" be the 33 men greeting Hannah B during the premiere leaves room for people (like Smithburger) to out the bad apples on social media before they infiltrate the show. (I'd bet money we don't see Matthew B. in the mansion because ABC pulls the plug on him before they announce the final lineup of candidates — all this sleuthing will feel like a long-forgotten nightmare by the show's premiere May 13.)
Basically, we're ABC's interns, sifting through bad tweets and screenshots of unwanted DMs before the final men are announced. That's one way to solve a problem.