The season finale of The Bachelor contained one of the most shocking twists in the show's long history, but many fans feel that the producers went too far in milking the drama.
This year's bachelor, Arie Luyendyk, went back on his decision after finally picking one of the contestants in the season finale. The 36-year-old former race car driver had formally proposed to Becca Kufrin, 27, when he confided in the show's host and producers that he was having second thoughts. He decided he instead wanted to pursue a relationship with 25-year-old contestant Lauren Burnham.
The whole dramatic switch took place in front of TV cameras. Luyendyk explained his feelings in a pre-recorded segment before breaking up with Kufrin.
"I told Becca I would choose her every day and I know I made that commitment, and it kills me that I'm going back on that, but I have to follow my heart," he said. "Just thinking about the possibility of something with Lauren is making me want to risk it all, because I really feel like I made a mistake."
The show's producers clearly thought they had struck gold, calling it "true television history" and advertising the finale to death. According to a report by DailyMail, they even leaked the fact that Luyendyk would have a change of heart on purpose to generate more interest.
Yet, when the big moment aired, many fans felt that it went way too far. Kufrin was overcome with tears, and repeatedly tried to escape Luyendyk and get away from the cameras. The crew was relentless, following her around the apartment and filming her for what felt like too long to the audience.
"ABC this is really, REALLY exploitative, and it's gross the show sprang it on her on camera," tweeted one user.
"The annoying thing is that the ratings for this will be through the roof and [ABC] will think they've done a good thing and [Mike Fleiss] will brag for weeks but this is so exploitative and tacky and I hope ABC gets so much heat for this cruel stunt," vented another. The same fan wondered online whether Luyendyk was to blame for the stunt.
"Do the cameras typically continue filming the couple after the engagement when they do their secret meet-ups? Or was this exclusively to film the break-up? Like did Arie give them permission or was it going to be filmed regardless?" they tweeted.
Some famous faces were perturbed by the segment as well. "I beg you to edit this footage down!" tweeted Bravo's Andy Cohen.
"This is really hard to watch and quite frankly not why I watch escapist reality television," tweeted The View's Meghan McCain. "[I]f I need this much emotionally draining content, I will stick with political news."