If reality TV heavyweights Mike Fleiss and Chris Harrison thought criticizing Kelly Ripa was going to get her to back down on her opinions about The Bachelorette, they seem to have picked the wrong woman.
On Tuesday’s episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan, Ripa, 48, said of the reality dating series, “Guys, you know how I feel about this show. It disgusts me.”
“And I thought that I was disgusted because I couldn’t stand the idea of 25 exceptional women fighting over one ordinary fella, in my opinion,” she continued. “You know how I feel, ladies: We are too special to be arguing over a guy.”
Both Bachelor host Harrison and creator Fleiss clapped back on Twitter, with Harrison writing, “Look out #BachelorNation @KellyRipa is coming after you and your ‘disgusting’ Monday night habit.”
Fleiss chimed in with, “Easy, @KellyRipa … #TheBachelor franchise pays your salary!”
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Before current Bachelorette Hannah Brown appeared on the daytime talk show Thursday, a source close to Live with Kelly and Ryan told PEOPLE that Fleiss and Harrison should maybe think before they critique.
“It seems the fear of rejection runs deep over there. Do these guys really want to bring attention to the fact that people should stop and look more closely at the completely outdated misogynistic nature of this show and its offensive premise of demeaning its participants?” the insider asked.
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According to the source, “They can’t handle lighthearted criticism from a successful woman who has been on TV longer than their contestants have been alive,” adding, “Kelly’s time at Live predates these shows by years, so if anything, her success in syndication and promotion of these shows pays their salaries.”
The source went on to point out, “Kelly has always slammed Bachelor/Bachelorette in the past with way worse comments, so why engage her now? Because they must be getting desperate.”
Ripa had not publicly commented on the responses from Harrison, 47, and Fleiss, 55, before Brown’s appearance on her show Thursday, when she opened up the interview by poking fun at the whole situation.
“Hannah, I’m not sure what they told you backstage … if you blink twice, I will get you out of here,” the host joked before Brown, 24, laughed and said she was happy to be there.
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