The Bachelor creator/executive producer Mike Fleiss’ recently announced departure from the hit ABC reality franchise came after he had been investigated over workplace misconduct allegations, Deadline has confirmed.
According to sources, The Bachelor producer Warner Bros. TV, working with ABC, recently completed the investigation into claims of alleged racist behavior as well as verbal and emotional abuse against Fleiss.
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I hear this came together very quickly. After a conversation with Warner Bros. over the results from the investigation, he opted to leave; Fleiss was not formally fired, sources said. Through a rep, he declined comment regarding any investigation. He also released a statement; you can read it in full below.
This is the second known time Warner Bros. had launched a probe into Fleiss’ behavior; in 2019, the studio said that they were “looking into” the “serious allegations” raised by his then-pregnant wife who accused him of attacking her.
Upon his departure, Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich, and longtime executive Bachelor producer Bennett Graebner were named showrunners for the franchise, it was announced Tuesday.
They are taking over a team that reportedly has been fractured by an ongoing internal culture war between old and new as the show has been looking to change its image and embrace diversity. Word is also that not everyone on the senior producing team is happy with the new showrunner selection.
Fleiss is the second key Bachelor creative auspice to exit the franchise amid controversy, following the 2021 departure of longtime host Chris Harrison.
The flagship show’s 27th season concluded on Monday with the engagement of Zach Shallcross and Kaity Biggar.
Fleiss created The Bachelor, which debuted in 2002. He is also the creative force behind spinoff The Bachelorette and has been an executive producer on all of the other Bachelor franchise series including Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor: Winter Games.
While he’s remained associated with the franchise, Fleiss hasn’t been involved day-to-day for the past decade.
Here is Fleiss’ statement:
I had no idea back in 2002 that we were building a pop culture juggernaut. It was a crazy idea then and sure as hell continues to roll– just look at every network and streamer that has ripped us off! Since its premiere 21 years ago, times have certainly changed and I’d have to say we didn’t keep up with the pace of those changes. I am proud of the work we’ve done over the past five years to make the show substantially more diverse, but I do believe I could have done more. Hopefully, the franchise will continue to move in the right direction. Judging by the number of staff weddings we’ve hosted at our home and the number of teary messages that blew up my phone when I announced I had turned in my final rose, I’m pretty sure I had more good days than bad, lifted more spirits than hurt feelings and leave the franchise in good hands, with more friends than foe.
The investigation into Fleiss’ alleged misconduct was first reported by Variety.
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