Bachelor Nation has been in upheaval over the last several weeks with Matt James’ season of The Bachelor seemingly becoming a whirlwind of scandal in regard to frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell’s history and Chris Harrison’s defense of her during a recent interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Now, The Bachelorette alum Josh Seiter is weighing in on this controversy and sharing his thoughts about the franchise and host, whose behavior he says caused a mental health crisis so serious that he even contemplated suicide.
Monsters & Critics spoke exclusively with Josh about his experience on the show, something he has touched on in the past, and asked him for his opinion on what is currently going on.
It’s no secret that Josh feels betrayed by The Bachelorette producers and Chris Harrison, so initially we wanted to know why he thinks so many Bachelor and Bachelorette leads appear so friendly with the host — and whether Josh thinks that their friendships are genuine or if he thinks they are faking it for the show.
Josh Seiter calls out Chris Harrison
“In my opinion the leads of the show who claim to love Chris Harrison have to be faking it,” he said. “The contestants fake their relationships. They are contractually bound to stay together for a certain period of time after the show ends, which is why the couples always break up a few months after the show airs.
“So it’s logical to believe that the other relationships on the show are also fake, including their relationships with Chris Harrison.”
Josh says he found Harrison to be a man of two sides — “sullen and angry when the cameras weren’t rolling, smiling and friendly when they were” — and said he believes there is “no way people who know him can genuinely like him.”
Josh made his reality TV debut on Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson’s season of The Bachelorette. Viewers may recall this was the one and only time that they had two women compete for the lead spot, a move that didn’t go over well with Bachelor Nation and that was never done again.
According to Josh, his memorable entrance where he got out of the limo and did a bit of a striptease for the ladies was not his own idea. Instead, he has said that he was asked multiple times by producers to take his clothes off and ended up unbuttoning his shirt and giving the ladies a little show at the insistence of The Bachelorette production when his originally planned introduction would have been much tamer.
“If I hadn’t been forced to strip out of the limo my introduction would have been a simple hug-and-hello. I probably would have mentioned that I had just graduated law school and was looking forward to getting to know the women better. Something simple and normal. Definitely not stripping off my clothes as 30 million people watched on the television.”
But what really upset Josh and sent him into a tailspin was Chris Harrison’s reaction as he made his way around the morning show circuit and trashed Josh, who was a former stripper but also holds a law degree and wanted to present a different side of himself than the one he agreed to in order to make production happy.
“When Chris Harrison went on The View and said I was trashy for stripping I could have just melted into the ground. I felt betrayed, angry and embarrassed. Betrayed by the producers who told me to strip, angry that they had sent Chris on the morning talk show circuit to trash me when I couldn’t defend myself, and embarrassed that I had ever believed they had my best interests at heart.”
The Bachelorette alum opens up about mental health struggle after embarrassment on the show
Josh says that being tricked by production and then humiliated on national television was very bad for his mental health, even leading to thoughts of suicide.
“Over the next few days, those emotions morphed into feelings of severe hopelessness and despair. And suicidal ideations. It’s worth noting that I had undergone electroshock therapy for clinical depression just a few years prior to the show, and despite this, had worked my butt off to achieve my law degree.”
He continued, “So being lambasted on national television by Chris Harrison for simply doing what his bosses told me to do caused me severe distress. I didn’t leave my house for a month after that, and the only thing that kept me from harming myself was a close network of family and friends.”
And even though Josh Seiter’s appearance on The Bachelorette aired in 2015, he still suffers today from the embarrassment of being called out by Chris Harrison.
Josh explained, “I still have negative feelings anytime the show is mentioned next to my name, and up until this year I always lied and said I only went on the show to showcase my dancing skills because I was too embarrassed to admit the truth.”
He’s using this experience as a cautionary tale and has worked hard to become a mental health advocate.
“Now that I’ve created my own brand and have a large social media following, I’ve finally been able to move past my experience on The Bachelorette. Thankfully, I was able to use that experience to speak openly about my struggles with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations.”
Josh continued, “I’m proud to say that six years after that incident, I am now recognized as one of the most followed mental health advocates on social media. Because I was able to turn this extremely negative experience into a positive. I don’t want or need an apology from Chris. I know it would be fake and insincere.”
Was Chris Harrison’s apology to Rachel Lindsay sincere?
Josh then spoke out about Chris Harrison’s recent apology after appearing for an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay — and he thinks that the Bachelor franchise host was “insincere.”
Josh told Monsters & Critics, “Chris’s apology to Rachel is so insincere it’s laughable. It sounded like a captive being forced by his captors to give a statement at gunpoint. I’d be shocked if he even wrote it himself.
“It’s clear he’s simply trying to salvage his career. If Chris didn’t mean what he said to Rachel, he wouldn’t have said it. He really wants us to believe he’s a reformed man and didn’t mean something he said with conviction just 72 hours earlier? Call me a cynic, but I’m not buying it.”
As far as the future of The Bachelor franchise, Josh weighs in, “I think Chris should be dropped from the show permanently because it’s obvious that if he’s not, he’s going to continue playing Russian Roulette with young people’s lives. I can only imagine how much damage he has done to the mental health of other contestants that were used and discarded by the show as he led the charge.”
He continued, “Thankfully I was pretty resilient, but I’m sure other contestants won’t be so lucky. The day Chris is fired I’ll celebrate because then I’ll know he won’t be able to send another young person into a tailspin of shame. A tailspin that nearly ended my life, and could easily end someone else’s. It may be a reality show to some, but it’s real life for us.”
Josh joins many others from Bachelor Nation who have spoke out amid the recent racism scandal including current The Bachelor star Matt James.
Rachel Lindsay has been a vocal advocate of diversity since her season of The Bachelorette and has spoken out as well. Also making their voices heard have been Tayshia Adams, Ivan Hall, Mike Johnson and the Season 25 cast, who served up a joint statement.
The Bachelorette is currently on hiatus.