Let’s get ready to rumba. After Kaitlyn Bristowe claimed that Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss previously put the brakes on her joining Dancing With the Stars, fellow Bachelorette alum JoJo Fletcher is adding her own experience to the ongoing debate about whether the dating franchise’s male stars get different treatment when it comes to showcasing their ballroom skills.
Fletcher, who starred on The Bachelorette season 12 last year, told Refinery29 on Monday, April 10, that she wanted to compete on DWTS after she got engaged to Jordan Rodgers on the ABC romance show, but that the powers that be prevented it from happening. This mirrors Bristowe’s apparent situation, as the news in February of Nick Viall joining DWTS season 24 prompted Bristowe to write on Twitter that she had been set to appear on the dancing show after her Bachelorette run until Fleiss stepped in and wouldn’t let her.
“Yeah, I would have,” Fletcher, 26, said about whether she would do DWTS. “But some contractual things kinda got in the way.” She added that she doesn’t understand why there would have been a problem with her competing on the show: “If it’s a decision that [the Bachelorette is] making and their partner supports it, then let them do it. …You know, if your relationship fails because of Dancing With the Stars, it’s not because of Dancing With the Stars. If your relationship is strong, it’s gonna last no matter what.”
So was Fletcher not allowed to compete on DWTS because Bachelor producers thought that her relationship with Rodgers should be her top priority? “You would think that, but then why would the Bachelor be able to do it?” Fletcher replied. “So I think there might be [a gender-based reason]. I don’t know. You know?”
Bristowe, 31, told Entertainment Tonight on March 1, “I believe men and women should be afforded the same opportunities. That has not been the case with the Bachelorettes and the Bachelors. I had an offer to do Dancing With the Stars and was told by Mike [Fleiss] I could not.… My hope in speaking out is that future Bachelorettes are given the same opportunity as Bachelors.” (In addition to Viall, former Bachelors Chris Soules, Sean Lowe and Jake Pavelka have all strutted their stuff on DWTS; Trista Sutter is the lone Bachelorette to have entered the fray.)
DWTS executive producers Joe Sungkur and Ashley Edens spoke to The Hollywood Reporter last month about the flap, with Edens saying that “there’s no rhyme or reason” to why certain Bachelor franchise alums get picked.
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.