Did ‘The Bachelorette’ Go Too Far By Letting Chad Johnson Stay In The House?

Anyone who heard it was going to be a two-part episode of The Bachelorette knew there would be drama. Like last week, much of the action revolved around Chad Johnson, the heavily-muscled suitor who showed little interest in conforming to the normal Bachelorette niceties. During Monday night’s episode, Johnson appeared to pull the shirt of another contestant, Evan Bass, and a security guard was posted to the mansion.

But the episode ended on an odd note. Asked by Evan to step in to resolve the mounting tension, Chris Harrison had a chat with Chad, saying the show could not tolerate violence. Harrison said he would give Johnson a chance to “settle” the issue with Bass and the rest of the guys. As Yahoo critic Kristen Baldwin wrote, Harrison sending Chad back into the house seemed unlikely to end well.

“The guys inside are all silently praying that Harrison is sending Chad home, but alas that’s not the case. ‘There’s a line that the show has to draw, and that’s the violence,’ says Chris. ‘I’m not asking you to leave, but something has to be done.’ While I was hoping Team Bachelorette would issue some kind of punishment — like flushing all of Chad’s protein powder down the toilet — instead they just want the meathead to head inside and ‘settle it’ with the guys by… apologizing? Unlikely.”

As Baldwin noted, Johnson appeared to go back into the mansion ready to have a physical altercation, and previews for Tuesday night’s Part 2 imply someone does indeed get hurt. The critic posed this question, among many, to her readers: “Should Chad have been sent home the moment he put his hands on Evan?”

Host Chris Harrison’s own blog gave some insight into how producers handled the issue of potential violence. During an earlier group date, Evan’s shirt was pulled, and Chad punched a door. Harrison says that raised some red flags.

“[S]omeone let our staff know that they were slightly worried. Obviously, we already have security on site all day and night, but to make everyone feel a little better, we brought a security guard up into the house. So when Evan told me that there were further threats of violence, I had to take action.”

While Harrison doesn’t elaborate on what his “actions” were, readers might assume he was referring to the chat he had with Johnson at the end of Monday’s episode. Variety summed up the series of events in the last 10 minutes this way: “Evan tattles on Chad to Chris Harrison, who steps in (sort of).” E! also used the word “tattle,” to describe Evan’s actions and wrote that it appeared Harrison was implying that there was not yet any actual violence that would require the show to send Johnson packing. Chad blamed the other men for the discord.

People reported that other men in the mansion expressed concern about Chad, as indicated by a promotional clip for Monday’s episode. Those included his roommate Derek, who described the tension in the men’s room, and Luke, who said the situation was unsafe due to Johnson’s aggression. Much of Johnson’s edit in the show revolves around his love of bodybuilding and his distaste for the Bachelorette protocol, including group dates with sometimes a dozen men attempting to court JoJo Fletcher at one time.

During Monday’s episode, Chad was shown trying to steal an on-stage kiss from JoJo, who turned her head to the side so he got cheek instead of lip. It was during that group date that Evan and Chad seemed to have physical contact and Johnson had a bone to pick with a door.

If Johnson’s Twitter feed is any indication, he may not be around for much longer. He tweeted an ominous message during last week’s episode. He implied in the tweet he had been the target of ill will in the house.

The Bachelorette airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC. A special episode airs this Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

[Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images]