The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss announced he was leaving the franchise he created more than 20 years ago on his social media. While he thanked ABC and WBTV for his time on the show, it seems like his reasons to leave the franchise were more obscured, according to a Variety report. 

According to the outlet, Fleiss left the franchise after an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination was conducted by Warner Bros. TV. While the show has had racist controversies in the past, until now neither of them involved Fleiss. 

This season, one of the contestants for Zach ShallcrossGreer Blitzer apologized for old tweets defending blackface, while long-time host Chris Harrison also departed the show after defending Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell for attending an antebellum South-themed fraternity party in 2018. 

What is the controversy surrounding Mike Fleiss?

Per the report from Variety, a “handful of individuals” told the outlet that “a number of employees had complained to human resources about Fleiss, which led to a thorough investigation that was conducted by an outside party in the past few months.” 

Current producers and staffers were part of the investigation, explains the outlet, which states that some of the members complained about “Fleiss’ ‘bullying’ behavior, as well as his resistance to increasing diversity on the show over two decades.” 

He reportedly would “lash out” against staffers who suggested more diversity, or “retaliate” against “people for having minorities and Black people on the show.” However, some staffers from the show also tell Variety that they didn’t know about the investigation. 

In a statement for Variety, Fless admits that he was proud of the work we’ve done over the past five years to make the show substantially more diverse, but I do believe I could have done more. Hopefully, the franchise will continue to move in the right direction.” 

He continued, "Judging by the number of staff weddings we’ve hosted at our home and the number of teary messages that blew up my phone when I announced I had turned in my final rose, I’m pretty sure I had more good days than bad, lifted more spirits than hurt feelings and leave the franchise in good hands, with more friends than foe.”