10:47am PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelor' Arie Luyendyk Jr. Feels Betrayed by Producers Over "Edited" Finale
Arie Luyendyk Jr. is changing his tune now that some time has passed since his season of The Bachelor.
As viewers of the ABC franchise are familiar with by now, Arie was villainized by America after his finale aired in March. He proposed to current Bachelorette Becca Kufrin, only to change his mind after filming wrapped. He shot his breakup with Becca and then proposed to runner-up Lauren Burnham during the live After the Final Rose special on finale night.
Despite the switcheroo, the subject of much of the criticism surrounded Arie's decision to film his breakup with Becca, who was ambushed by the cameras. The difficult scene was touted by ABC as "unedited" and played out for nearly an hour.
In the week that followed, Arie defended his choice to bring the cameras along, explaining that he wanted to show America what happened so there would be less questions. "I reached out to them and I said, 'This is what I want to do,'" he told The Hollywood Reporter one day after the finale aired. "And they said that it would be a good idea. And I agree with them because ultimately I wanted everyone to see that that breakup rests on my shoulders. I was at fault. I shouldn’t have gotten engaged when I did. I made a big mistake. And if we didn’t film that, there would be questions about that, so it’s good that everyone saw that. Obviously, now she’s the Bachelorette; I’m really happy for her and now she can move forward and find someone for her."
In a new profile with GQ, however, he says he feels "100 percent betrayed" by show producers for how everything was handled.
"It was completely edited," Arie told reporter Rebecca Nelson. "I was told to stay on that couch. I tried to leave, and then production was like, 'You need to go back inside. She's finally calming down. I feel like you owe it to her to have this conversation.' So then I went back in the house."
When Nelson pressed him, saying, "Really? You tried to leave and they wouldn't let you?" Arie replied: "Yeah. I left, came back. I stepped away from the couch, I went back to the couch. They cut out, obviously, production talking to me from 10 feet away."
He said ABC and Chris Harrison labeling the scene as "unedited" was unfair. "Everyone makes me out to be the bad guy for filming it," he said, reiterating his opinion that the breakup led to her being cast as the Bachelorette because "people wouldn't be able to cope with the fact that she just got broken up with on television."
Arie's comments come after Harrison, the show's host and a producer, said the Bachelor "didn’t perform as perfectly as he probably would’ve liked." He told THR, "Even I say he was a knucklehead. He made some really dumb decisions.... If he could go back, he’d probably fix some things. But he and Lauren are in love and at the end of the day, the most important thing is that he’s with the girl he should be with and Becca’s good." Becca also responded to Arie's comments by telling Entertainment Tonight the scene was "definitely unedited."
In his GQ interview, Arie did say the outcome was positive all-around, with Becca being the show's new star and finding her happy ending. Indeed, Becca announced ahead of the premiere that she is now engaged to one of her contestants.
"I think if you look back at it now, it was positive for everyone. Everyone ended up getting closure and also an opportunity to be with the person that they were really meant to be with," he said. "I don't understand why I'm the fall guy for filming the breakup on a television show which we all signed up to be on."
The intent of Nelson's profile was to let "the most hated man in America" explain himself, but her access to the ABC couple was cut short after a one-on-one interview she had with Lauren about some of the content of the finale. When Arie and Lauren recently announced their nontelevised wedding date, they said they still had not watched the finale and, according to Nelson, Lauren was taken aback by some of her questions.
As for Becca, who premiered her season Monday, not only has she since said that she sympathizes with Arie having now been in his shoes, she also admitted that she, too, falls in love with two men in the end. She has not, however, said if she tells both men "I love you," which Arie and past Bachelor Ben Higgins did to much fanfare.
ABC and producers Warner Bros. declined to comment on Arie's claims when reached by THR.