TV News

Colton Underwood, Virginal Fence-Jumping "Bachelor" Star, Comes Out as Gay

The 29-year-old former football player announced the news in an interview with Robin Roberts on "GMA."

Colton Underwood, the former football player and Bachelor franchise personality, has come out as gay.

Underwood, 29, made news in an interview Wednesday with Robin Roberts for Good Morning America.

"Obviously this year's been a lot for a lot of people, and it's probably made a lot of people look themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are and what they've been running from," Underwood said. "I've ran from myself for a long time and hated myself for a long time. I'm gay. I came to terms with that earlier this year, and I've been processing it. The next step in all of this was letting people know."

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TV Lists

7 Black TV Shows You Forgot Existed

For every "Martin" or "Fresh Prince" there's another Black show that's been lost to time.

The Cast of "On Our Own"

The '90s were the golden era for Black television shows in primetime. The success of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Living Single, and others dominated the ratings and made stars out of their casts.

They would show the world that Black people weren't a monolith and had various stories that needed to be seen by a mainstream audience.

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TV Features

"The Bachelor" Casting Its First Black Star Doesn't Correct the Show's Racist History

Matt James is ABC's first Black bachelor in nearly two decades.

After a grueling 18 years on the air, ABC's Bachelor franchise has accomplished a long-overdue milestone: casting its first Black bachelor.

Matt James, a 28-year-old real estate broker from North Carolina, was announced this week as the first Black star of The Bachelor in its 25 seasons. Hardcore fans might recognize him as the best friend of Tyler Cameron, a recent Bachelorette contestant competing for the heart of Hannah Brown. James has a perfect TV smile and likes to goof off making TikToks with his friends—what's not to love? He was originally selected to be a competitor on The Bachelorette this year, before production was shut down for obvious reasons. Here's to hoping we get our trashy reality TV back as soon as possible!

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CULTURE

Teen Victim of Slender Man Stabbing: "I Still Sleep With Scissors"

Payton Leutner has spoken out for the first time since she was stabbed as part of attacks inspired by Slender Man.

In 2014, after a night of roller-skating at the local rink, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier took their friend Peyton Leutner to the woods.

They stabbed her 19 times, leaving her to crawl out onto a path, where a cyclist found her. All three of the girls were twelve.

Geyser and Weier had apparently been planning this for months. It was all inspired by Slender Man—the infamous tall, thin, child-eating demon who started as a concept on Creepypasta and later ingrained himself into a generation's minds through a series of Photoshopped images and gory Internet threads.

Yesterday, the now 17-year-old Leutner spoke out for the first time since the attack. She appeared on ABC's 20/20 program, which airs this Friday night, and she apparently said that she still sleeps with broken scissors "in case someone tries to murder her again."

The Verge

As for why she's decided to speak out, she said, "I feel like it's time for people to see my side rather than everyone else's."

Most of the information that exists about the Slender Man stabbing concerns Morgan and Anissa, both of whom are currently in mental institutions. But this story really began over a decade ago, in the darkest and most infected laboratory known to man: the Internet.

The first mentions of Slender Man appeared on Creepypasta's Something Awful forum. It was 2009, the era of MySpace and early Internet, and a user named Victor Surge responded to a request for spooky photos by submitting an image of a tall, thin man without a face. It was captioned, "We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time. — 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead."

From there, Slender Man became a viral meme, the modern equivalent of a popular folktale. Evading fact and authorship, Slender Man instead seemed to exist only in echoes and whispers. Always skeletal, thin and faceless, usually seen in the woods, he fit into the old, monstrous archetype of the children-snatcher, being the kind of specter used to discourage children from running away into the night. But unlike the cryptids and stringy-haired witches that are so common in horror movies, he has no precise precedent in folklore.

Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier

What happened to Peyton Leutner is an absurd, random tragedy, one that evades logic. It is evidence that the things the Internet dreams up can come to life. It plays into the deepest fears of every parent who has allowed their children to go out at night or go online (regardless of the fact that very few people actually are moved to violence by what they read about online). In that, it's a tale that feels particularly resonant in 2019, when it's becoming clearer that we have far less power over the Internet than we imagined, and when we know that powerful men wearing suits have been stealing children away for quite a long time.

But maybe sometimes, all this violence can become a catalyst for healing. Inspired by what happened to her, Leutner has decided to become a doctor. When asked if there's anything she would say to Morgan Geyser, Leutner said she would thank her.

Leutner said, "I would probably, initially thank her," Leutner said.

"I would say, 'Just because of what she did, I have the life I have now. I really, really like it and I have a plan," she said. "I didn't have a plan when I was 12, and now I do because of everything that I went through. Without the whole situation, I wouldn't be who I am. I've come to accept all of the scars that I have. It's just a part of me. I don't think much of them."

'Slender Man' stabbing survivor describes horrific ordeal | Nightline youtu.be


TV

Luke P. Resorts to Gaslighting Through Christianity

In their blowout last night, he fell back on the same pattern: confront, manipulate to gain power (occasionally lying), and then backtrack to save face.

We've all had enough of Luke Parker.

ABC

It's a general truth that a majority of the Bachelor Franchise's contestants are Christian.

There have been virgin contestants, a born-again virgin Bachelor, and then a straight-up virgin Bachelor. Yet, over the past two decades, the show has refrained from airing discussions of touchy topics like religion or sex. Participants on the show have disclosed that many deep conversations regarding such matters go unaired.

Then, last season, one contestant, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, disclosed her sexual assault to the Bachelor, Colton Underwood. The heart-stopping moment became a revelatory scene in reality television. Viewers everywhere could hear, relate, and connect to the moving story. Powerful moments like those are more common now that participants are breaking away from the show's traditional boundaries, storylines, and rules. In turn, production has begun to re-shape the show; while the series has become more sex positive, religion has remained a taboo subject—until last night.

Throughout this season, Bachelor Nation has witnessed an emotional abuser remain on their TVs for far too long—even by the standards of reality TV, it's been alarming. Luke P.'s concerning behavior, from aggression to excessive lying, has prompted viewers to question, "What in the hell are we not seeing?" Hannah Brown and Luke P. have had a connection that viewers cannot not wrap their heads around, but it turns out that viewers were missing half the story. While Luke P. has stirred the pot by repeatedly disrespecting Hannah and his fellow contestants, viewers have questioned if an inexplicable spiritual connection has been drawing the two together.

Finally, the other half of the story was unveiled during Fantasy Suite week. After the two made-out during their day touring Santorini, Luke P. began their dinner by gaslighting Hannah:

"I am very confident that we're on the same page with our morals, and I just want to hear it from your mouth. I've heard people proclaim their faith, but yet they've said things like, 'I'm excited for Fantasy Suites. I want to explore this relationship on a sexually intimate level, and that's what I'm looking forward to.' And to me, that's like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa excuse me? What? There's something I'm missing here. Like I don't believe that's something you should be doing, and I just want to make sure that you're not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here. Like, I totally have all the trust in the world for you, but at the same time I just want to make sure we're on the same page. Like, if you told me you're going to have sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I would be wanting to go home 100 percent."

Hannah Sends Luke P Home After Fantasy Suite Warning! | The Bachelorette US www.youtube.com

If delivered differently and with more tact, his concerns could've been reasonable. Instead, he began by aligning the other contestants against him and weaponizing his connection with Hannah to make assumptions about how she should act. Then, he backtracked by asserting that he had faith in her and finally threatened their relationship if she didn't live up to his standards. The loaded speech demonstrates his continued pattern of emotional manipulation. When Hannah disagreed with what he said, he continued to backtrack by claiming that he would work with her through anything, even a "slip-up." Similarly, earlier in the season, he informed Hannah that he would stick by her even if she made a "boneheaded mistake."

Time and time again, Luke P. has utilized gaslighting as a way to maintain control in his relationship with Hannah. Whenever he's felt confident in their relationship, he's directly addressed his concerns with Hannah, but when he's felt their relationship was in jeopardy, he's used manipulation tactics to assert what he wants out of the relationship. However, whenever he's "slipped up," the responsibility hasn't fallen on him because he's protested that he was just "misunderstood"—after lying straight to Hannah's face.

Overall, every time Luke P. has been in the wrong, he's asserted his needs, manipulated the truth, and then backtracked whenever Hannah responded poorly. In their blowout last night, he fell back on the same pattern: confront, manipulate to gain power (occasionally lying), and then backtrack to save face.

Whatever good Hannah saw in Luke P. prior to Fantasy Suite week has been washed away. When Luke P. tried to wield religion against Hannah to shame her, she called him out on it. The Bachelorette proved that she had her Biblical receipts, retorting, "You know the story in the Bible when the woman was called out for adultery, and she was stoned in the village, and Jesus said, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. You're holding your stone up at me and asking me what I've done."

Unfortunately, gaslighting in the Christian community isn't anything new. Too many self-righteous believers still condemn, shame, and utilize their beliefs to shame sinners and preach a narrow way of life. Hannah aptly addressed Luke P.'s hypocrisy by informing him, "Sex might be a sin out of marriage, but pride is a sin too." She continued, "It's like you're holding other people to a standard that you don't even live by."

Faith is meant to spread love and light. Like Hannah said, "I know that I have God in my heart, so I know that everything I do and who I am is light. I am light. Do I make mistakes? I'm not Jesus." Her commentary shed light on the stark contrast between more progressive, inclusive Christians who have embraced the modern world and others who stick to their outdated, hypocritical agendas (like those who are pro-life but don't care about keeping children in cages).

For the formerly apolitical show to air their conversation is a sign that the genre of "reality" TV is still expanding its social consciousness; in particular, it displays that the Bachelor Franchise has solid potential (even after 17 years) to spark new conversations and highlight important narratives. Unfortunately, as portrayed in the previews for next week, the producers seem to allow Luke P. to come back, undoubtedly to exasperate Hannah and continue the toxic drama that is Luke P.'s existence.

ABC's production seems to take a positive step forward by airing their candid conversation, but they still kept around an emotional abuser and then brought him back to let him try to manipulate his way back into Hannah's heart. At least Hannah Brown finally gained clarity and found her way out of a controlling relationship (for now). Hopefully, like other leads who have been forced to endure harmful, disruptive, racist, and misogynistic contestants, Hannah can come out on top, with continued love and respect for herself and her relationship with God.

TV

The Sexist Double Standard on "The Bachelorette"

On The Bachelorette, it's a woman who bears the burden of other people's opinions about her choices and who's saddled with the repercussions. Why?

The main Bachelorettes effected.

ABC

Before Nick Viall became a Bachelor Nation staple, he was the guy who confronted his ex, Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, on national television.

"Knowing how in love with you I was, if you weren't in love with me, I'm just not sure why you made love with me," he said accusingly. Dorfman retorted that was "below the belt" and should "be kept private."

What Nick Viall divulged might have been met with pity if a woman had expressed it—because men take advantage of women all the time. But on The Bachelor, no woman has taken issue with the leading man being intimate with another woman. In contrast, time and time again, the men on The Bachelorette become possessive and force the female contestant to defend her actions, specifically her sexual decisions. It's clear that the Bachelor can have sex with his female suitors whenever he pleases and receive no backlash from the contestants or from Bachelor Nation.

Bachelorette Finale - Nick Confronts Andi About Sex Suite www.youtube.com

Meanwhile, Dorfman received a lot of flack for hurting Nick's feelings. Similarly, the following bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe, also received backlash for having sex with Nick Viall before the "fantasy suites." It's an unspoken rule that the fantasy suites are where the final four contestants are free to do whatever they want during their first time away from the cameras. The production team typically stocks the suite with sweets, alcohol, and condoms for each pair's indulgence.

For Nick to have sex with Bristowe before the "fantasy suite" format seemed hypocritical. Here we had a man who implied that Dorfman was cruel to have sex with him because she did not end up committing to him. A year later, Nick even defended Kaitlyn's choice to have sex with him on the show, tweeting, "Sex is not shameful. Whether we want to admit it or not, sex is an important part of many serious and meaningful relationships." While Nick has since apologized, it's still important to acknowledge that he shamed Dorfman for her sexual expression in front of millions. Yet, it was Bristowe and Dorfman who received the brunt of the backlash, with people across the nation slut-shaming them, while Nick got away scot-free.

Last night, yet another Bachelorette had to address a man's issue with her sexual actions. While on her first one-on-one date in Latvia, Hannah and Garrett bungee jumped naked (as is Latvian tradition). The date was riveting, vulnerable, and fun. It was an experience for the couple and the viewers.

When Garrett came back from his date, he giddily recounted it to the other men, but resident villain Luke P. did not receive the news of the naked bungee jumping kindly. He told the camera that he didn't believe Hannah would do that, and if she did, it'd be a slap in the face to him.

On their group date, Hannah referred to her date with Garrett and confirmed what Garrett said. Reality finally hit Luke P., and he was pissed. During the evening portion of the date, he took Hannah aside to "clarify" what happened on her one-on-one with Garrett and express how he felt about it. He began by referring to her body as "a temple," then cited her nude bungee jumping as "a slap in the face"; he concluded by divulging that he's no longer "confident" that he wants her to meet his family now. When Hannah reacted poorly to this, he put his foot farther in his mouth by trying to win her back, claiming that he'll always stick by her whenever she makes "boneheaded mistakes."

'You Don't Own My Body': Hannah B Slams Luke P. Over Sexist Comments www.youtube.com

Still mulling over the alarming conversation with Luke, Hannah decided to sit down with him on the day of the cocktail party. She addressed her concerns, which included the language he used, calling her nude bungee jumping a "boneheaded mistake" and using his family against her. But, all that aside, Hannah informed Luke P. that at this point, he shouldn't even be concerned with what goes on in her other relationships because, "You're not my husband. You don't own my body. You don't own me. It's my body." Luke P. claimed that she completely misunderstood him. He told her that she might not be remembering everything correctly and that she was twisting his language. Luke P. backtracking in such a manipulative and outright dishonest fashion furthers the argument that he's not only a pathological liar, but downright emotionally abusive.

Their interaction seems to be only the beginning of what's to come. The Bachelorette has teased Hannah's iconic line, "I have had sex and Jesus still loves me!" for weeks now and recently revealed Luke P. is on the receiving end of the sentiment. It's obvious that the narrative around sex and religion will come to a head this season, which will hopefully put The Bachelor franchise's slut-shaming to bed. As much as the franchise supposedly tries to uplift their "independent" women, the Bachelorette constantly has to reassure the men, reassert her strength, and defend her actions: a phenomenon that will most likely persist, since it appears that many men still can't understand that a woman's body belongs only to her.

Recently, host Chris Harrison suggested that The Bachelor franchise has showcased the changing realities of dating. Alas, that's true. As much as The Bachelor franchise wants to keep up with the times, The Bachelorette still plays into damaging stereotypes about relationships, gender roles, and how some men on The Bachelorette react poorly to not controlling the female lead. Luke P. isn't the first contestant, nor will he be the last, to impose his expectations of what a woman should or should not do with her body. As such, The Bachelorette reinforces the double standard that a woman can't express the same bodily autonomy and decision-making as a man.