‘The Bachelorette’ Finale: Chris Harrison Defends Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Controversial Season

The Bachelorette After the Final Rose
Courtesy of ABC

“Bachelor” franchise host Chris Harrison came to Kaitlyn Bristowe’s defense following her controversial run on “The Bachelorette,” which openly addressed having sex and becoming the victim of slut shaming.

“She has put some land mines out there and stepped on them, and at times, I’ve made it very public, she can be her own worst enemy,” Harrison told Variety. “But the thing that I find endearing about her is that it’s all out of honesty and trying to do the right thing.”

Harrison said he thinks the issues raised by the past season are important, and he feels confident there will be more seasons of “The Bachelorette” to come. “I feel like because of what has happened, maybe we need this more than ever,” he said, adding that he had a long conversation with his 11-year-old daughter following the “Men Tell All” episode in which he read some of the harsh social media drubbing Bristowe has endured out loud. “We need to have these debates, and to have these conversations because what’s happening with Kaitlyn is not okay.”

Bristowe agreed that, despite the harsh words, name-calling and even death threats, she has no regrets. “I’m in the moment,” she told Variety. “And I say or I do things that maybe not everyone agrees with.”

Addressing another of the season’s controversial moments — when Bristowe told one her suitors, Shawn, that she wanted him to win — Harrison said he wished she hadn’t broken from the show’s formula. “There’s reasons we had this set up, and unfortunately she took it upon herself to try and fix something that really didn’t need to be fixed. But she did, and it was unfortunate,” he said. “I guess the best way to put it is we were just disappointed.”

Still, the host hearkened back to the first “Bachelorette,” Trista Sutter, who, even before social media, he knew would have to “endure a lot — a lot of press, a lot of pressure.” In retrospect, Harrison said Sutter was the right choice. “And I feel that Kaitlyn’s the same. She’s a strong woman.”