On July 16, reports emerged that Laura Fleiss, wife of The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss, filed an emergency restraining order against her husband due to domestic violence allegations. Now, longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison has responded to the Mike Fleiss allegations, calling them "outside of production," as reported by People.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which obtained court documents, Laura Fleiss (née Kaeppeler) accused her husband Mike of "attacking her after she refused to have an abortion," over Fourth of July weekend. The allegations continued, claiming that Mike committed both physical and verbal abuse. These are allegations which Mike denied the allegations, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.
Harrison's comments were recorded on Entertainment Tonight host Lauren Zima's podcast Bachelor Party, which came out late on Monday night. (Zima and Harrison have been reportedly dating since the springtime.) During the interview, Zima compared allegations against Fleiss to the 2017 sexual assault allegations that emerged involving Bachelor in Paradise contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson (Jackson denied these allegations). Harrison responded to this comparison, as reported by People, saying,
"I won’t get too deep into this, but I will say as far as those two situations, they’re very different... Bachelor in Paradise, that was a production situation, something that happened on our set, having to do with our show, was relevant to our production — so that was my concern as far as production."
Harrison continued, "Mike Fleiss and his situation is completely different. It is a very personal, private matter between he, his wife, his kids, his family, and [it] is outside of production." Then Harrison stated that the Bachelor production company, Warner Horizon, is taking the allegations "very serious," and "they're looking into them." When Bustle reached out to ABC for comment following the initial reports about Laura's allegations, a Warner Bros. rep echoed Harrison's claim, saying, "We are aware of these serious allegations, and are looking into them."
After Harrison's statements above, he continued, "Beyond that, I really don't have any comment. It wouldn't be right for me to have any more comment beyond that right now. We will wait and see until anymore facts come in. I believe them that they are taking this very serious and looking into this."
On July 23, E! News reported that a source claimed that ABC might continue airing The Bachelor/Bachelorette without Fleiss' involvement. "When it comes to filming The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, Mike Fleiss is not part of the day-to-day operation and has not been for years," a source told E! News.
E!'s source continued, "He will usually show up for the first day or two of filming but then head back to Hawaii and oversee things remotely from one of his homes there. Once the show starts airing, he'll be very active on social media but he really is not part of the filming process."
While it seems like Bachelor franchise will likely not be affected by Laura's recent abuse allegations, as far as the shows' production goes, some fans have already declared that the Mike Fleiss situation makes it difficult for them to continue watching. Although Harrison doesn't seem concerned with this personal matter affecting The Bachelor overall, the allegations against Mike could still affect the viewers who are closely watching the franchise's response.