On Monday’s episode of The Bachelor, Matt James woke up, realized he wasn’t in tenth grade anymore, and did something pretty admirable within the constraints of his reality television bubble: He sent two contestants home after repeatedly hearing accusations of bullying and toxicity against them. Anna went first, and then royal impersonator Victoria, with James declaring in the episode that he wanted to ensure every contestant had a “safe space” in the Pennsylvania wilderness free of pettiness. Debriefing about his decision on Good Morning America today, James said that while “high emotions” are expected for a Bachelor contestant, “persistent” hostility and falsities are not, so he was left with no choice but to “act on it.”
“Any type of name-calling people try to pass off as playing around, but it’s not playing around to the people on the receiving end of it,” he explained. “When that was made aware to me, I had to act on it.” Anna, for instance, claimed with no basis that fellow contestant Brittany was an escort, while Victoria relished calling other women insults such as hoes, losers, and sluts. When asked why he didn’t choose to give the duo another chance, James said that hey weren’t worth pursuing. “This opportunity doesn’t really allow for second chances,” he responded. “You’re on a crunch of time, and when I see that my connection with you is starting to whither, and when I see signs that are not what I’m looking for with my wife at that time, then I’ve got to act on it and focus my energy and efforts on the women who I’m forming the strong connections with.” We’re already dreading the Women Tell All.