11:46am PT by Jackie Strause
'The Bachelorette' Contestant Says Reality Matched Violent Episodes With "Unstable" Chad
The Bachelorette escalated to levels of violence never before seen on the long-running ABC reality franchise this week.
During a double dose of episodes that aired Monday and Tuesday, Chad Johnson, who has been labeled as the villain of JoJo Fletcher's season, engaged in physical altercations and threatened to physically hurt several of his fellow contestants.
While the series has been known to take liberties in its editing room, Alex Woytkiw, the contestant on the receiving end of many of Chad's threats, says what viewers saw was an accurate depiction of what went down.
"This wasn't fake, Chad was like this the whole time," the U.S. marine told reporters during a press call Wednesday. "And that’s what’s important to understand: it’s not like he just stepped in front of the camera for group discussions and then we become friends. For most people, they’ve only seen eight hours, whereas for us, we had to experience this guy 24/7. The show didn’t have to do anything or edit him in any way. He’s just a bad guy."
The violent events that made it to air included Chad telling one contestant that he was going to track him down after the show to enact revenge, grabbing another by his throat while saying, "You’re going to f—ing die if you don’t chill out," and threatening to knock Alex's teeth out.
The disturbing behavior led to the show bringing in an on-site security guard to watch over the men, a first in a series which has seen 20 seasons of The Bachelor and is currently airing its 12th season of The Bachelorette. "The whole security guard thing was the proactive measure from the show, and I really respect them for doing that," Alex told The Hollywood Reporter. "There's people sleeping in a room with this guy."
But he said the producers never actually stepped in, leaving the housemates relying on each other if Chad did, in fact, go on the attack.
"After I told him to stop cutting people off and he put his finger an inch away from my face and was telling me he was going to knock out my teeth — when no one stepped in after that kind of confrontation, I kind of figured, ‘Alright, we’re on our own here. They’re going to let things roll,'" he said. "You pretty much have someone saying he’s going to punch me in the face and knock out my teeth and no one came over and stopped that. So at that point you’re like, ‘Yeah, this is real. This is not some production, this is really happening.’”
Alex initially thought he would bond with the fellow marine, but says he immediately noticed a lack of leadership traits: "I wanted to pull him aside and be like, 'You understand the Marine Corps is watching this right now with us, what do you think they’re going to think?'"
On Tuesday's episode, Alex was put into the situation where he had to tell JoJo about Chad's disturbing behavior during a two-on-one date with Chad that took the trio out to the woods on a secluded hike (watch the scene here). That's when Chad, whose mental health was questioned by his contestants at this point, went off the deep end.
“I felt like he was losing it, he was becoming super unstable," says Alex. "He was saying weird things to me, it was like he was unraveling, it was pretty intense." Ultimately, JoJo sent him packing, but Alex's worry was correct — the episode ended in a cliffhanger with Chad storming the house, while Alex and JoJo were off separately in a cottage. "I thought, 'What if this guy actually comes to break up me and JoJo here?' I’m glad I actually thought of it, because I was like, 'If he comes in here, what am I going to do?'"
Since the start of the season, Chad has been actively defending himself on social media, but the luxury real estate agent from Tulsa, Oklahoma has yet to post anything since Tuesday night's episode.
ABC benefited from the drama Monday night, winning the night for broadcast with 6.8 million viewers and averaging a 2.0 rating in the key demo, a 25 percent jump from its previous Memorial Day dip. Tuesday's episode saw a steady rating in the key demo.