‘The Bachelor’: Contestant From Jake Pavelka’s Season Alleges Toxic Manipulation By Series Producers

Reality TV shows are a fun escape for a lot of viewers who use the sometimes over-the-top drama as a welcome distraction from their own version of reality. Unfortunately, as the years go by and more and more former contestants speak out about their experiences on the sets of these shows, we’re learning that there is a dark side to the fun. 

That seems to be the case for The Bachelor, and a former contestant who appeared in Jake Pavelka’s season has opened up about the toxic atmosphere on the set. 

‘The Bachelor’ has a long history in reality TV 

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Plenty of reality shows have come and gone, bringing us short-lived runs before fading into obscurity, but The Bachelor is not one of them. Premiering in 2002, The Bachelor was among the earliest of the dating reality TV series, and it has shown some real staying power.

Currently in its 25th season, The Bachelor has followed the same basic premise year after year. One eligible bachelor gets up close and personal with a pool of hopeful women.

As each episode progresses, the bachelor in question narrows down the pool of potentials through a rose ceremony. In the end, one woman comes out victorious, the winner of the final rose and — at least theoretically — the bachelor’s heart.

Of course, many of these relationships didn’t last once the cameras stopped rolling, and plenty of fans have questioned just how “real” the reality TV show is, but it’s clear that the fun and entertainment of watching a leading man choose his favorite lady has kept fans engaged over the years. 

Jake Pavelka’s season of ‘The Bachelor’ was particularly volatile

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Part of the appeal of The Bachelor is fans’ ability to choose their favorite contestants and root for them to make it to the final episode. In Season 14, plenty of fans were rooting against contestant Vienna Girardi. She was vying for the heart of Pavelka, and fans found her particularly odious and cruel to the other contestants. 

On top of that, Season 14 also featured Rozlyn Papa, a makeup artist from Richmond, Virginia. Papa made history on the show when she was unceremoniously disqualified and told to pack up her belongings after getting caught in an inappropriate relationship with a staffer — who also got fired.

To make matters worse, Giardi — the contestant fans loved to hate — ended up winning the whole season. All told, Pavelka’s season was filled with turmoil and disappointment. 

Former contestant Kimberly Vick calls reality TV ‘pure evil’

Jake Pavelka closeup with him wearing a white button-down shirt.
Jake Pavelka | Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

To add even more drama to Season 14 of The Bachelor, fans may be interested to hear from Kimberly Vick, who participated in the season as Kimberly Sullivan. The NBA dancer from Oklahoma was eliminated in week one of the show, so fans didn’t get to see a lot of her. However, she has vivid memories of her time on the set — and they’re not good ones. 

Vick took to TikTok to release a series of videos about her time on The Bachelor. In one, she took to task the show’s producers who she felt manipulated her. Each contestant must give an exit interview as they leave the mansion upon elimination, and they have no idea whether it will actually make it to air. As Vick was eliminated early, she took her removal in stride and didn’t have anything dramatic to say.

According to her, the show’s producers wanted something juicier, so they pushed her, saying “your dad had an affair and your best friend killed herself, so this is just one more thing you can add to your list of disappointments.” Predictably, those cruel words got Vick’s tears flowing, and the show made her out to look way more upset about her elimination than she actually was. 

Vick felt manipulated by the show’s creators. As Yahoo! reports, she feels they used her youthful naivety against her: “I was 23 and a little bit naive, I pretty much divulged every little detail about my life.”

Ultimately, the experience left Vick with a distaste for the manipulative side of “evil” reality TV.