The Bachelor stars Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi have been on the receiving end of a ton of criticism since they got engaged on the reality series this year, but the latest internet backlash has been a particularly strange one.
The Bachelor Nation was recently abuzz over a paparazzi photo showing Nick and Vanessa walking out of a grocery store. While the source of the controversy may not be immediately obvious to some, a Bachelor fan pointed out that it was Nick Viall’s manners — or lack thereof — that was so maddening about the snap.
This particular image of Grimaldi and Viall have given rise to a debate on social rights, gender inequality, female empowerment, and basic etiquette among The Bachelor fans and beyond. In the photo, Vanessa and Nick are shown walking out of a store together. The two had obviously just finished doing some shopping, but only Vanessa was carrying the bags of stuff they bought. Nick, meanwhile, was empty-handed.
Instagram user pacozero, who runs the so-called “prëeminent Bachelor-related Instagram on Instagram,” shared the image with his more than 68,000 followers earlier this week, captioning it the “first time Nick’s shoes aren’t the most objectionable thing in a photo.”
Some fans immediately took the opportunity to criticize the Bachelor 2017 couple. “Why isn’t he helping with the bags?” one wrote. “Someone needs some advice on how to be a gentleman.”
When others chimed in, saying that Vanessa and Nick shouldn’t be judged based on one photo, someone else claimed that this wasn’t an isolated case. “Not the first time, look back at their photos,” the commenter said. “She is always carrying everything.”
Others tried to defend Nick Viall by suggesting that he was probably sore from Dancing with the Stars training, and Vanessa probably offered to carry all the bags. “Geeze the things people find to nitpick about,” another Instagram user wrote. “A woman is perfectly capable of carrying a couple bags.”
After the post had been inundated by comments, pacozero waded into the fray to give his take on the matter. “Regardless of your view on equality vs. chivalry, it is inarguable that Nick is guilty of poor judgment,” he wrote in a separate post.
“His company is called The Polished Gent, as in gentleman. Meanwhile he’s photographed (1) dressed in age-inappropriate leisure wear and (2) letting Vanessa carry the groceries. That’s bad brand management. He needs an image consultant.”
Another commenter later reported that Vanessa Grimaldi had set the record straight during a radio interview and said that she had insisted on carrying the bags. Nick, she reportedly said, is an absolute gentleman and wanted to carry the bags. She, however, wanted to get some workout done.
The day before Nick and Vanessa were photographed outside the grocery, the Dancing with the Stars contestant revealed that he and his fiance have yet to set a date for their wedding. “We’re just taking things slow,” Viall told Mario Lopez in an interview.
“We’re very realistic about our situation, and that is that this relationship is different than one that might have started outside of Bachelor world.”
Vanessa and Nick Viall are currently living together in Los Angeles. It’s unclear if their future wedding will be a televised event or if they will opt for a private affair. Given their popularity, it seems likely that the two will re-emerge in another reality TV series, as their predecessors have done.
The Bachelor Season 21, in which Nick Viall starred, premiered last year. He proposed to Vanessa Grimaldi during the reality show’s March finale. Viall is currently participating in the 24th season of Dancing with the Stars with Peta Murgatroyd as his partner.
Dancing with the Stars Season 24 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.
[Featured Image by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images]