Bachelor In Paradise’s Chris Conran is putting a hard stop to the churning rumor mill of Bachelor Nation — at least on matters regarding his sexuality. After he made his Paradise debut on Aug. 30, some viewers speculated about his sexuality and mocked his so-called “bromance” with fellow contestant Chasen Nick. (Both men appeared on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ season of The Bachelorette, though Chris was eliminated before Tayshia stepped in.) Chris, however, was having none of it, firing back at speculators in a Sept. 1 tweet.
“I’ve noticed rumors of people questioning my sexuality online and on podcasts,” he wrote. “I am not gay. It is disrespectful that society effeminates Asian men and uses ‘gay’ as a derogatory term. Don’t impose sexuality on individuals.”
Some fans think the “podcasts” Conran’s referencing here might include former Bachelor Nick Viall’s The Viall Files. In the podcast’s Sept. 1 episode, Nick discussed Chris’s entrance to Paradise with comedian Dave Holmes.
“I was like, ‘Oh, is this a guy or a girl?’” Nick said. “Forget about the rotation, he has very pretty legs.”
“I was getting kind of a fluid vibe from Chris and Chasen when they showed up,” Dave said. “I was certain that it was, like, ‘Oh, these are the guys who are sort of bicurious, and Wells [Adams] is gonna make ’em a cocktail and who knows what may happen next.’ That was my feeling. Because we’ve been there with women. We haven’t been there with men yet.”
Dave was referring to Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty, who appeared on the previous season of Paradise. Demi — an alum from Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor — came out as bisexual and shared that she was in love with a woman (Kristian) she’d met before flying to Mexico to film Paradise. The producers then brought Kristian in to join the cast, and the couple ended the season by getting engaged. (They’ve since called it quits, breaking up in fall of 2019.)
Beyond the remarks that they were potentially fluid or bi, Chris and Chasen were also mocked on the podcast for calling girls “smokeshows.”
“Smokeshow just reeks of performative heterosexuality to me,” Holmes said. “I think it is a very silly thing to say. It feels like something a panicky 12-year-old boy says in the locker room just to be like, ‘I like girls.'”
Jokes aside, the speculation about his sexuality plays into racist tropes. Nguyen Tan Hoang, Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies at Bryn Mawr College, addresses exactly these themes in his 2016 book A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation.
“Orientalist representations of the Asian male body as effeminate, soft, or childlike have permeated Western society,” Hoang writes. The assumed connection between effeminate traits and homosexuality has also permeated Western society. But, as Chris says, there’s no acceptable reason to make assumptions about another person’s sexuality or mock someone’s sexuality (presumed or otherwise).
Cheers to Chris for shutting those rumors right down and defending himself. You go, smoke bro.