Arie Luyendyk Jr. wasn't popular after his unprecedented Bachelor finale, and he's once again facing backlash online. Arie joked that Lauren Burnham was pregnant on April Fools' Day, and plenty of people weren't happy about the prank. On Sunday, Arie posted a photo of on Twitter and his Instagram story of Lauren pretending to have a baby bump. He wrote: "Secrets finally out, we have a bunny in the oven!" and tagged Lauren in the post. A little over an hour later, he tweeted "APRIL FOOLS!" The couple was criticized for the joke online, as people on social media felt the joke was insensitive to those who have fertility struggles.
UPDATE: On Monday, Arie posted an apology for the April Fools' prank on Twitter. He wrote, "I do have sympathy for women struggling from infertility. My April Fools prank was in no way meant to offend women who struggle with that. I apologize if you were effected personally by my post."
EARLIER: On Twitter, fans responded to the picture, saying it was in bad taste and explaining why it could be offensive. Many users noted that there are couples who have difficulty conceiving, and that the post was insensitive to this struggle. On Twitter, one fan pointed out that there was another more appropriate joke the couple could have made: "Shame on y’all for this. So many women are trying everything they can to conceive and then you joke about this? It’s just really in poor taste. A 'we eloped' photo would have been much more appropriate."
Another person on Twitter urged the couple to consider how expensive and frustrating fertility treatments are for couples trying to get pregnant. They wrote: "come on. be better than that. it's not a joke for many struggling families to get pregnant, it's extremely expensive and it's heartbreaking. I wish nothing but the best for Arie and Lauren but this is not funny, it's cruel".
The negative response to the photo began even before Arie revealed it was a prank, and the post received even greater pushback after he did. According to the CDC, about 12.1 percent of women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 have "impaired fecundity", or issues becoming pregnant. The CDC also notes that 7.3 million women aged 15 to 44 have ever used infertility services, which means fertility issues are a fairly common struggle. The photo was meant to be in good fun, but many people on social media found it insensitive to this issue.
Here's what some more users were saying about the joke on Twitter:
On Instagram, Arie seemed to apologize for the April Fools' post. He posted a picture of a recipe, and wrote: "Sorry if you were offended but we really are making a Dutch Baby." A Dutch Baby is a type of pancake that is traditional in Arie's home country of the Netherlands. The couple was baking together in Arizona on Sunday, and the reality star also shared a picture of the dish once it was finished.
On Friday, the engaged couple also posted pictures of their cross-country road trip. They traveled from Lauren's hometown of Virginia Beach to Scottsdale, Arizona, where they are moving in together. The two stars recently returned from a trip across Europe, which likely served as a much-needed getaway after the controversy of the Bachelor finale. Aside from this week's backlash, it seems like things are going well for the couple. In an interview with People magazine, Lauren had only good things to say about their time overseas. "Although we traveled all around the world on the show, we didn’t really get the experience of traveling together as a couple,” she told the publication. “It’s been fun trying to navigate these places and we’ve made a lot of new memories along the way.”
It's not surprising that Arie and Lauren often find themselves in the spotlight following the end of the reality series. After breaking off his engagement with future Bachelorette Becca Kufrin at the end of a season thought by many to otherwise be the most boring in the show's history, Arie was not popular with Bachelor Nation. This latest controversy is just another time the star has let down fans.
Lauren and Arie might have more privacy soon, though, as The Bachelorette premieres on May 28. Once the next season of the show starts, it's likely the couple will have more time away from the public eye to focus on their relationship. If the couple stays together after the show moves on, next steps will likely be planning their wedding, and maybe some day start an actual family.