Bachelor backlash after reveal of stripper pasts

Viewers have accused The Bachelor of 'slut-shaming', after two of the show's contestants, Leah and Simone, were forced to defend their past work as topless entertainers.

The episode, which featured Matty J's sister Kate joining the gang to "get a gauge on how genuine the girls are", began with fellow contestants mocking architecture student Leah over her side business.

"Leah says that she is a party planner, but rumour has it that she is a naked party planner," contestant Florence giggled on the show.

"I wouldn't want my brother to end up with someone like her," she added.

Simone was forced to defend her past work as a stripper. Photo: Ten

Simone was forced to defend her past work as a stripper. Photo: Ten

In a one-on-one chat with Kate, Leah tiptoed around the issue, telling Matty's sister that she's "done wild sorts of parties" and "used to do a bit of lingerie waitressing, that sort of stuff."

Obviously flustered by the grilling, Leah then pointed the finger at contestant Simone, saying she worked in a "similar kind of industry".

In a teary chat with Matty J, Simone was forced to defend her past work as a stripper, saying she wasn't ashamed and that "it's not been the right time to mention it to you, I haven't got to know you properly yet."

While Matty J told the women "it's not a dealbreaker at all that you do that kind of work" and the show framed the drama as an issue of dishonesty, the episode sparked criticism online.

Viewers slammed the show for 'slut-shaming' the contestants, accusing them of hiding their past and enforcing the social stigma that says women should feel ashamed about such work.

They also criticised the show for implying sex-work says something negative about a woman's character, and the double standard that never saw the show's previous male bachelors - including Tim Robards and Blake Garvey - have their topless waiting pasts dissected on the show.

"Maybe she didn't mention her sex work because you're all awful and misogyny is everywhere and nowhere is safe," one online commenter wrote.

"Love my trash TV, do not enjoy the implication that someone is a bad person because of the nature of their work," wrote another.

During an interview with Leah on Brisbane's Hit105 on Thursday morning, Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg echoed the viewer sentiment.

"When you look at those photos, remember there were 13 men in the room paying for it," he said about images circulating of Leah's topless waitressing days. "There's a transaction going on, and it's useless to shame someone for doing something like that."

"Our first two bachelors were topless waiters - Tim Robards and Blake Garvey. I'm proud of it!" he added.

Leah added that she felt "degraded" by the way the show handled the issue.

"I was hiding nothing, [Matty] just never asked me," she told Gunsberg.

A spokesperson for production company Warner Bros defended the episode, saying "in following the narrative accurately, producers told the story as it happened".

"The topic of Leah and Simone's past was one that was instigated and discussed openly by the other Bachelorettes in the mansion, and they chose to discuss it with Matty's sister," they said in a statement.

"Matty explained to Leah that he did not send her home based on her background, but because of her general behaviour with the other Bachelorettes, ensuing drama in the house, and because he could not see a future relationship developing between them."

The controversial episode also included that old Bachelor chestnut, the 'mother test', with Matty J forcing the women to prove their comfort amongst a group of five-year-old kids.

This story Bachelor backlash after reveal of stripper pasts first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.