Fleiss made headlines this week after Variety learned that his sudden departure from “The Bachelor” franchise came after “an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination was conducted by Warner Bros.” Sources close to the investigation told the outlet that Fleiss would “lash out” at production staffers who suggested improving diversity on the show.
Harrison spoke about his rocky relationship with his former boss on the Thursday, March 30 episode of his podcast “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever.” The former host told listeners he and Fleiss “hated each other,” calling their first meeting “a disaster.”
Chris Harrison Says He & Mike Fleiss ‘Didn’t Click At All’
On the Thursday episode aptly titled “Dropping like Fleiss,” Chris reminisced about his first meeting with Fleiss, who hired him to host “The Bachelor.”
“I went in and I met with Mike and some other executives and the meeting was horrible,” he said. “It was a disaster. Mike and I hated each other. It was like oil and water.”
“We just didn’t get along,” he added. “We just didn’t click at all.”
Harrison said he was surprised when Fleiss wanted to meet again after their “horrible” first meeting. The 51-year-old said he thought he was being punked.
“Fleiss came out and he yelled across the room he’s like, ‘Harrison, you were horrible in our first meeting but I hear you’re a good guy let’s do this again.'”
Despite their first meeting, Harrison and Fleiss worked alongside each other on “The Bachelor” franchise for two decades.
Mike Fleiss Steps Away from ‘The Bachelor’ Franchise
Fleiss announced his departure from the franchise the day after the season 27 finale of “The Bachelor” on Tuesday, March 28.
“First and foremost, congratulations are in order for Zach and Kaity. I wish them a long and happy life together,” Fleiss said in a statement to Variety. “I want to thank WBTV and ABC for 21 extraordinary years. They’ve found the perfect creative team for me to entrust ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and keep this lightening in a bottle bold and moving forward. Let the journey continue.”
When the outlet inquired about why Fleiss was stepping back from the franchise, ABC and Warner Bros declined to comment. Variety later learned that Fleiss’s departure came on the heels of an investigation “into allegations of racial discrimination.”
Sources close to the investigation told the outlet that Fleiss was resistant to diversify the franchise and displayed “bullying” behavior toward production staffers who suggested improving diversity when casting the show.
“People said he would retaliate against people for having minorities and Black people on the show. He favored certain people over other people,” a source told the outlet. “He would say, ‘Minorities don’t get ratings.'”
Variety reached out to Fleiss for comment regarding the accusations.
“I had no idea back in 2002 that we were building a pop culture juggernaut,” he said in a statement to Variety. “It was a crazy idea then and sure as hell continues to roll — just look at every network and streamer that has ripped us off! Since its premiere 21 years ago, times have certainly changed and I’d have to say we didn’t keep up with the pace of those changes.”
Stay tuned for details about Charity Lawson’s upcoming season of “The Bachelorette.”