"Nothing about Underwood’s story as lived in public seemed to depart from a well-worn playbook," says Daniel D'Addario. "Which made his conversation with (Robin) Roberts (this morning on Good Morning America) a healthy reminder about the power of the entertainment industry to present an image that may depart wildly from reality. The most meaningful divergence here isn’t even that Underwood was gay on a show whose engine is straightness; it’s that he was miserable, contemplating suicide and praying to God to change his sexuality. His prime selling point as Bachelor star — the intriguing fact, heavily touted by the series in promotions, that he was a virgin when appearing on the show — was true enough, but for reasons that he couldn’t share: He was frightened of what sex would mean, and not interested in women." D'Addario adds: "Only when his face relaxed after saying the words 'I’m gay' did the degree of acting he had clearly been forced to do become clear. And his story — that of a deeply religious football star who pushed himself deeper into the closet as he got older, desperately trying to be like his peers and finally being himself — is one that will likely be productive for people across the nation to hear. (Notably, Underwood remains deeply devout as an out gay man, a juxtaposition that is not widely represented across the media landscape.) True transparency across our culture means learning that people one might never have expected to be gay are, up to and including former Bachelors; maybe that will make young people see how much support is out there if they come out, and make their peers see that no one knows exactly what is in the heart of another person." D'Addario also wonders if Underwood still has a future with The Bachelor franchise. "It’s somewhat hard to see how this story fits into the narrative of a show that prizes heterosexuality and tidy endings," he says. "This story has the unexpectedness and catharsis of real life, not of a made-for-TV coupling, and The Bachelor is the last franchise I’d expect to handle further developments in Underwood’s story with proportion or good taste. As its struggles with racism against Black competitors have shown, its retrograde fantasy flounders when attempting real inclusivity; better for them to let this story alone."
Robin Roberts, Good Morning America and ABC mishandled Colton Underwood's coming out by not emphasizing harassment allegations against Cassie Randolph: "Should we forget that time Colton Underwood allegedly put a tracking device on Cassie Randolph’s car?," says Laura Bradley. She says Underwood coming out doesn't change the fact that his Bachelor ex filed a restraining order against him last year three months after they broke up, accusing him of harassment, stalking and placing a tracking device on her car. Randolph later dropped the restraining order. "Underwood has dealt with rumors about his sexuality for years, and it’s gratifying to see the former Bachelor has finally found a way to proudly live his truth," says Bradley. "A number of celebrities and Bachelor alums have already voiced their support for Underwood. But the way ABC handled the interview was strange, and at worst deeply irresponsible. In her rush to validate Underwood, Roberts essentially brushed aside the temporary restraining order a judge granted Underwood’s winning contestant, Cassie Randolph, last year...To downplay Underwood’s behavior, or to explain it away as the simple result of grappling with his sexuality, does a disservice to both women and queer people."
Dan Levy says Underwood coming out will save lives: "'Coming out' can be a terrifying, uncomfortable, and traumatizing experience because we still live in a world where we are made to fear the consequences of living freely. Let that sink in," he tweeted. "So happy for @colton Underwood. His courage will undoubtably save lives today."
Real Housewives of New York star Carole Radziwell receives backlash for criticizing Underwood for becoming The Bachelor: "Congrats to Colton Underwood but also What?? You apply & compete with other men to go on a TV show looking for love & you think you might be gay?" she tweeted. "What about processing that without involving TV crews and 25 girls. It's a great day for gay men, bad day for young women." Following the backlash, Radziwell doubled down on her comments. "I've known many men who've struggled and come out at different times in their lives. It's very difficult," she replied to one critic. "But I believe this was a TV show involving 25 women all I'm saying is if there is any doubt why do that? Seems harder..."