On April 18, two Nashville residents filed a class action lawsuit against ABC and producer Mike Fleiss, alleging purposeful discrimination against minorities when casting leads for popular reality shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. In a statement, ABC calls the suit “baseless.” Speaking exclusively with Wetpaint Entertainment, Bachelorette alum Jesse Csincsak sheds light on what he saw from inside the ABC casting machine — and candidly explains why he agrees with the plaintiffs.
Jesse, who got engaged to DeAnna Pappas on Season 4 of The Bachelorette, flew out to Los Angeles on ABC’s dime, he says, to be interviewed by a third party casting agency. “The way it works,” Jesse says, “is ABC outsources all casting to a third party agency who calls you in and basically showcases you in front of a room of people.” Most guys are asked to take their shirts off during the final casting call, Jesse explains.
Jesse’s theory is that show execs cast for a variety of roles each season, depending on the personality of the lead Bachelor or Bachelorette. “They have a cast of roles that they fill, they want the good guy, the preacher’s son, the guy you want to punch in the face,” Jesse explains, adding he was the latter. His ex-fiancee, DeAnna Pappas, has also alluded to producers’ influence over the story arc, admitting in a previous interview that she felt she “let producers guide [her] heart.”
Jesse, for his part, says he continues to be negatively affected by how he was portrayed on The Bachelorette. “What they don’t tell you is, three years from now, you’re not going to be able to get a job, and your parents will get handwritten hate mail.” While he agrees with the plaintiffs of the suit’s allegations of discrimination, Jesse urges potential contestants to think about the reverberating effects of appearing on reality television. “This will affect your life for years to come. They turn your relationship into a business. The whole thing is sort of discriminating.”