The Bachelor is a highly addictive, always entertaining, and mildly ridiculous show that brings together 32 women to meet one amazing, perfect man. Now imagine this situation, but instead of one perfect man there’s 12, with 8 women fighting over them. This is Bachelor in Paradise, a show even wilder and even more addicting than its predecessor.
The contestants on Bachelor in Paradise seem less interested in finding love and more focused on how their exposure on the show will help them build a brand, gain sponsorships, or build social media followers. They often come in with money in mind, something the show itself seems to know as features have a more lighthearted edit with fewer rules than The Bachelor.
The contestants going into the season usually all know or have met each other already, having gone on group dates and attended sponsored events together for years. The whole thing can seem very planned, but we choose to ignore it as we watch them all fall in love, fighting over who’s there for the right reasons as if they all aren’t shaking in anticipation of checking their new follower count when they finally leave the island. However, this year, while many of the contestants obviously knew each other going in and had some plan of who they wanted, one couple took it too far for both their fellow contestants and Bachelor Nation.
Week one, Brendan Morais and Natasha Parker both entered the island, seemingly freshly single and looking for love. They coupled up the first few weeks, moving slower than the other couples, but Brendan would constantly reassure her of his genuine feelings for her, and hers for his. They spent their days comfortably, if not lovingly, together.
Then: enter Pieper. Rumors had been swirling around the beach about Brendan and Pieper possibly having dated before the show, but Brendan shut them down, telling Natasha they had only met once or twice, and he’d had more real conversations with her than he’d ever had with Pieper. However, the second Pieper came down, she headed straight for Brendan and immediately asked him on a date, ignoring the customary asking-to-talk before deciding who to pick based on connection. On their date, Brendan obviously tried to communicate to Pieper that they had to keep their previous relationship a secret, and they went back to the villa completely in love. Pieper eventually admitted to Natasha that they had been on at least 10 dates, Brendan tried gaslighting Natasha to forget the past few weeks, and then Brendan and Piper went and had countless conversations about how many more followers they wanted and how pathetic Natasha looked.
This reaction, alongside these endless conversations about followers and clout and trickery, was too much for the audience that usually lets subtle hints of this slide by with a light meme or two. Twitter, as you can imagine, exploded.
People tweeted out a variety of things: “Brendan and Pieper need to be held accountable” (@angelica_fio), “I don’t know if Brendan and Pieper know what mics and cameras are” (@realityrants_), and “while you’re unfollowing Brendan and Pieper go ahead and follow our queen Natasha” (@kkulwicki16). Among the general calls of disgust and justice were movements to unfollow Brendan and Pieper on Instagram and to follow Natasha instead.
While this punishment of “unfollowing” may seem silly, Twitter actually took this very seriously. Brendan Morais, who was previously an Instagram personality, lost over 100,000 followers, going from over 300k to around 200k. People were tweeting out live countdowns of his dwindling follower count, celebrating his failures. Pieper, who was excited to go on the show to grow her image and allow herself to be a larger influencer, lost around 10,000 followers from her lower 80k. On the other hand, Natasha Parker, the woman scorned, went from less than 100k followers to around 460k. While all three contestants probably went on the show with an idea of growing their image (some more heavily and planned than others) two were punished for it, while one was immensely rewarded.
Brendan and Pieper, who had shifted their careers to Instagram and building their brand, were now effectively “cancelled” by the people who had first given them a platform, forcing Brendan to post a 7-minute apology. As could be predicted, it was met with even more hate, and his subsequent apology to his apology was met with the same hate. Their future returns to the show, which helps recurring contestants like Joe Amabile amass huge amounts of followers (1 mil) and brand deals, is effectively ruined, as no viewer will allow them on their screen again. So, what are they to do now?
The two have now reportedly broken up. They’re left with seemingly nothing but hardships since going on the show, with their hopes of leaving smothered in followers and sponsors gone.
Cover photo by: Paige Morrisey (The Crescent Graphic Design Team)