7:00pm PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelorette' Star Opens Up About Sex-Shaming Amid Dramatic Exit
Hannah Brown doubled down on her empowering turn as The Bachelorette on Monday's episode.
With only two weeks left before her cycle of the ABC reality franchise concludes, Brown gained the clarity viewers have been waiting to see when she eliminated controversial frontrunner Luke Parker. Both Brown and Parker have spoken about their Christian beliefs as something that attracts them to one another, but they vastly differed on the topic of premarital sex when sitting down for an intense dinner date during Fantasy Suites Week.
"Sex is an incredible thing and it's a beautiful thing," Parker said when telling Brown he is a born-again virgin, adding, "Well, only when it's within the guidelines of marriage."
While explaining to Brown that he has been abstaining from sex for the last four or so years and is now saving himself for marriage, Parker told her he was confident that their "morals" aligned. "I just want to make sure that you're not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here," he told her. "If you told me you're having sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I'd be wanting to go home, 100 percent."
The Fantasy Suites Week of the dating competition offers the lead the opportunity to enter into an overnight date without cameras with as many of the final four contestants as she or he wishes. Brown invited three of her contestants into the overnight suite and was clear with both the contestants and viewers about her intentions. Parker's turn came fourth and, before she had the opportunity to think about presenting him with the date card, she heard his judgments and sent him packing.
"Why do you have the right to do that? Because, you're not my husband," Brown told Parker, reiterating that intimacy is not something she approaches lightly. "That you're questioning me and judging me and feel like you have the right to, when you don't at this point. ... I've finally gotten clarity on you, and I do not want you to be my husband."
When Parker tried to walk back his words, Brown continued to push back on their relationship being "contingent" on what Parker — who has stepped into the villain trope this season — views as morally acceptable to be his wife. "I have had sex and Jesus still loves me," she told Parker. "From obviously how you feel, me fucking in a windmill? You probably want to leave." She then tells the camera: "I didn't just go into the Fantasy Suite — I fucked in a windmill. And guess what? We did it a second time."
Eventually, Brown gives his car the middle finger and he exits, despite protests. "It's like, fuck you, dude," she explained to the camera. "You don't own me. You don't get to decide what I can and can't do. I was like, 'Oh my God. Who are you again?'"
The face-off between the star and Parker, the contestant who has grabbed Brown's attention from the start of the season, had been heavily teased for weeks. After confronting Parker's sex-shaming the first time around, teaser clips ended up turning Brown's quotes about having sex in a windmill (which was revealed to be in a windmill-themed suite for an overnight date with contestant Peter Weber on Monday's episode) and "I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me" into viral hooks for the season. Putting her sexual experiences and beliefs out into the world has also resulted in the former Miss Alabama having to bat down critics on social media; Brown addressed the hate she was receiving about "giving Christians a bad name" earlier in the season.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the recent taping for the Men Tell All reunion special (which is set to air July 22), Brown opened up about taking a stand against Parker, being a sex-positive lead for the franchise and the consequences that have come with her on-air honesty about intimacy.
"It wasn’t a calculated thing at all," she tells THR about her and Parker's Fantasy Suite Week confrontation. "It was just me speaking my truth about how I felt in the moment and how he made me feel, and learning from past relationships and bringing that into the relationship with Luke and kind of taking off my blinders in that moment."
Still, Brown admits that she never thought her comments about sex would be getting such a platform. "I never thought that would be something that’s so open to the public, but I can own that and I’m not ashamed of that," she says. "They are conversations that need to be had and I realize why people who are in the public eye don’t talk about [sex], because of the criticism that comes with it. It’s hard and people will make you feel like you shouldn’t. But I’m not going to stop because we need voices out there speaking their truth. I’m not going to stop doing that because I know I was called for this and I think it’s really important."
Brown is even ready to own her windmill moment: "I never planned for it to be known by the world, but if you say it with a mic on then you’ve got to own it, and I’m going to own it. To the windmill, to the wall."
After the episode aired on Monday, Brown and Parker continued to take their disagreement to social media. In an Instagram post, Parker said it "hurt my heart" that Brown felt that he was shaming her, but he sang a different tune in a string of Twitter posts and replies invoking what the Bible says about "sin." Brown, however, shut him down: "I’m not going to lectured on appropriate emotional responses by a guy who threw deli meat in a guys lap."
Meanwhile, franchise host Chris Harrison — who will host the reunion show that will welcome Parker back to reunite with Brown — praises Brown for opening the door for the ABC reality show to discuss faith and religion, an arena that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have shied away from in the past.
"I think it’s fascinating, I love it. I love this show and I will continue to love this show as long as we evolve, and as long as we continue to raise the level of debate," Harrison, speaking at the Men Tell All taping in Los Angeles, tells THR. "Yes, it’s all about love and we’re also entertaining people — it’s a TV show at the end of the day. But I love that, at the same time, we really push some social issues. Whether it’s slut-shaming, whether it’s religion, whether it’s diversity, whatever it is, I love that we’re going to talk about this now."
He then quotes his star to add, "I mean, 'I fucked in a windmill and Jesus still loves me' — that’s as iconic as you’re going to get. That’s drop-the-mic material. I love that Hannah is unabashed, unashamed and, that’s just her."
The Bachelorette will have a two-night finale to conclude what is expected to be another unpredictable ending. The extended finale follows in the path of the last two cycles of the Bachelor franchise with Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Colton Underwood, which both featured unexpected live conclusions. (Brown will be the first two-night Bachelorette ending.)
For the first time on The Bachelorette, three men will move on to the finale (and the teaser shows that viewers haven't seen the last of Parker, either) when it airs Monday, July 29, and Tuesday, July 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Brown will join Harrison in the live After the Final Rose studio for both nights, as well as her three finalists — Weber, Jed Wyatt (who has come under fire for off-camera drama) and Tyler Cameron — as the two-night ender plays out.
Kirsten Chuba contributed to this story.
July 16, 7:30 a.m. Updated to include two-night finale programming note.