'The Bachelorette' Q&A: Chris Harrison on Ashley, Bentley drama
Published Jun 2 2011, 15:32 BST | By Lara Martin Bachelorette
fans will be aware by now that Bentley is bad news. The Utah-based suitor has made no secret of his lack of attraction to Ashley Hebert, and his comments about her on camera were even branded "out of line and disrespectful" by host Chris Harrison in his EW
Viewers, however, saw Ashley handing him the date rose last week, despite being warned before the show had even started that he might not be there for the right reasons. And things take a turn for the worse on Monday night. Described as "the most villainous bachelor in the show's history" on a recent ABC press release, the next instalment will see the father-of-one delivering a "knock-out blow" to Ashley that leaves her heartbroken,.
Chris Harrison recently talked to reporters about the dramatic episode, which he promises "everybody will be talking about Tuesday morning". Here are some of the highlights from the call:When did you realise Bentley could be bad news?
"I thought he was going to be trouble the moment Ashley told me he was going to be trouble. We talked that first night and you saw some of it, but a lot of stuff you didn't see. I was pretty adamant about my feelings towards him. I usually try to walk that fine gray line of host/friend/confidant but when you have information before the guy ever gets out of the limo, that is beyond a red flag. She never heeded any of the warning signs. I think part of the reason is that she was so anti-everything she had done on Brad's season, where she was closed up and didn't let herself go and didn't trust her gut. This season, she threw caution to the wind and did the exact opposite. We gave her the option before the limos ever pulled up of not meeting him, but she said, 'No, I want to meet him and I want to give him a shot. If I don't like him, I'll kick him off'. Every step of the way, she had the option, and she always made the choice to go forward and in the end defend him and stick by him."
How difficult was it to watch Ashley's heartbreak?
"It was really hard, she's a friend of mine. It gets to the point, and this is one of the things I find fascinating about the show, where I'm no longer the host; I'm just a friend and I'm about to watch someone have their heart broken. If you've ever had any friends who have been in relationships where you know the person they're dating or falling for is not good for them, the more you scream from the rooftops and tell them, what do they do? The more they run to them and defend them and defend their choices. That's what happened with Ashley. The more I told her and the more the producers said, the more she defended this guy. It got to the point where I realised, 'You know what, she's going to have a broken heart and be hurt, and all I can do is stand by, watch it and be there for her when it happens'. This isn't just TV, it happens in life all the time. At some point you have to say, 'I'm your friend and I'll be here for you'. I can see this train a mile away." What do you think Ashley saw in Bentley?
"You'll see in the deliberation Monday night, it was very much not a deliberation. This was a friend walking in to pick up the pieces of another friend who had just had their heart ripped apart. I asked her, 'What was it about this guy that got under your skin?' and she never really could answer that. I'd be interested to talk to her now and get her perspective now she's had time to heal and look into it more. Was it the bad boy? Was it I want to fix him? Was it the momma syndrome where you want to mother and protect them? Maybe it was a little bit of all of that. I don't know. I couldn't put a finger on it but I found it very perplexing myself. What are you seeing in this guy? I don't get it He's bad news, you know he's bad news, he's going to hurt you. He was so smooth and caring around her that she never got to see the true side of him and his true colours. Eventually, he was able to use that and crush her."Why did producers not show Ashley the footage of Bentley's comments?
"It's a good point. Maybe if this had gone any further… you have to understand too, we're only two weeks into this. That first week is really just one night. We're about two weeks in and things had just started getting out of hand and him saying all these things. If it had gone on longer, I don't know the steps we would've taken, if we would've finally had to show her these things. She was privy to some of the information and a lot of what we thought. Some of the producers had told her this guy's not good for you and I had told her some things. Short of showing her all the derogatory stuff, she had so much information, more so than Ali or Jillian ever had about Justin or Wes. It was kind of the same situation when I went to Ali and said, 'This is what we know about Justin, what do you want to do?' She said she wanted to kick his butt off the show and she did. The same thing with Jillian. She had that information, she had everything she needed, but she just always wanted to believe the good in the guy."How did the incident affect Ashley?
"I think it's fair to say it affected her the rest of the time she was on the show. You'll see on Monday night from the comedy date, which hurt her and definitely opened a wound, to [what happened with Bentley], as soon as that is over, there is another date and then the deliberation and rose ceremony and all that, and she's a different person. When you see Ashley after Bentley, you see this vulnerable little girl. She was just crestfallen. She was absolutely destroyed. It wasn't, 'Can I find love?' and 'I hope to find love', it was, 'I don't want to do this. I don't think it's going to work'. The next several weeks for me wasn't worrying about can she fall in love, it was telling her to believe this process can work, and there are guys here that have given up everything in their lives to be here and you owe it to them to give them a shot. It was putting the pieces back together and it was rough. If you or I have a horrible break-up and get devastated by it, we find solace in a bowl of ice cream and a dozen doughnuts and can sit in our house in the dark and contemplate life for a while. She had to go on a date the next day. It was really unreal in that aspect with her saying, 'How can I possibly move on and act like nothing has happened?' She didn't and she couldn't. I give a lot of credit to the guys this season. They're an older, more professional group - definitely not that frathouse mentality - and if it hadn't been for them the show may have fallen apart completely." What is your response to any suggestion that Bentley was edited to look bad?
"You will see him on camera saying these words and full sentences. You will see him and his face so it's obviously not cut; you can't splice together when you see somebody like that. You'll see him saying things and say, 'Are you kidding me?' Honestly, you can't really take the things he said out of context, obviously he's talking about Ashley every time he says something about her, and even in joking they're not appropriate. You don't talk about a woman like that and you don't treat somebody like that. I would love to hear what his friends have to say about the stunt he pulls [on Monday night]. To me, it was worse than anything he said before. That is really what I have the biggest problem with. I don't respect the things he said and that's not the kind of man I am… Watch the stunt and what he says. I think that is the worse in far as messing with her mind." Did he talk about the fact he has a daughter and how he'd react if someone said those things about her?
"I didn't get to know Bentley that well because I get to know them from the fourth week on when we start travelling around the world and spending time in airports and hotels. This all happened in the first couple of weeks. I have a son and a daughter and I can't fathom treating a woman like that. I really hope that he comes to the Men Tell All
, not so I can rip him apart, but so I can hear his explanation. I'd like to ask him if he could imagine a man treating his daughter that way. I'd love to hear his response. I don't know what his endgame was or his motivations. Someone said it was to promote his business but I don't see how that happened. The things he said and did crossed the line of decency as far as I'm concerned."The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC> Read our full The Bachelorette headlines> The Bachelorette recap: Week 2, Las Vegas
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