Last week, several contestants from the films The Bachelor and The Bachelor were asked to explain to their fans why they applied for government loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bachelor subreddit was in buzz after the posts drew attention to public records that showed several members had applied for the government’s payroll protection program. Some were able to get loans worth more than $ 20,000. As the numbers circulated on Reddit and then Vulture, fans wondered if the reality TV stars were the intended beneficiaries of the program, as many members used their newfound fame in the careers of influencers, podcasters, and entertainers.
Many influencers can build their brands and content by hiring employees and working through LLCs. These small businesses were like many others that took out PPP loans to stay afloat, but the optics were different for the bachelor stars, who often advocate an ambitious lifestyle after the show ended.
The $ 800 billion payroll protection program, which ended May 31, offered companies forgivable loans of up to $ 10 million to cover roughly two months’ salary payments and certain other expenses such as rent. Candidates were not required to prove any financial damage from the pandemic; they just needed to confirm that “the current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary” to support their ongoing operations.
Last year, most sole proprietorships – companies that only employ a business owner – had to be profitable in order to qualify for a loan. But in late February, the Biden administration changed that rule, giving millions of previously expelled businesses eligible for aid. Recipients must use most of the cash to pay workers, including themselves.
After the loan requirements were relaxed, almost every small business in America received legal aid. The recipients of the loans were white shoe law firms, political lobbyists, anti-vaccination activists, TGI Fridays and PF Chang’s, and companies started by sports stars such as Tom Brady and Floyd Mayweather.
Also on this list: Several actors from the Bachelor Nation. Among them was Taishia Adams, who starred in Bachelorette Party in 2020 and is now co-hosting the show since Chris Harrison’s departure. In January, she received $ 20,833 in wages from her company, Tayshia Adams Media LLC, according to public records.
Representatives for Adams declined to comment on this article.
The Colton Underwood Heritage Foundation, founded by Colton Underwood, the star of The Bachelor in 2019, received a loan of $ 11,355. According to publicist Underwood Cindy Guagenti, an organization that helps people living with cystic fibrosis applied for a loan after its annual fundraiser was canceled due to the pandemic.
“None of the PPPs went directly to Colton,” Guagenti said in an email. “In fact, Colton never received any payments from the fund; all proceeds go directly to people living with cystic fibrosis. “
On Monday, in an Instagram post that has since been deleted, Underwood distanced himself from the reality show and explained why he got the loan.
Lauren Burnham and Ari Luendyk Jr., a couple who met on the show and got married, received $ 20,830 through their Instagram Husband in June 2020, the maximum amount for a PPP loan to a sole proprietor, through their Instagram Husband, according to public records. The couple have over 200,000 YouTube subscribers and have immersed themselves in the lifestyle of influencers since their reality TV appearance. For example, in April, the couple posted a video tour of their newly acquired second home in Hawaii on their YouTube account.
Records show that Dale Moss, who received the last rose in Bachelorette season 16, also applied for a $ 20,830 PPP loan, according to public records. Moss’s loan has been approved but has yet to be paid off.
Other former contestants “Bachelor” and “Bachelor” took advantage of credits received by some of the contestants. Nick Viall, who has appeared in several seasons of the franchise, criticized the loan recipients on Twitter.
“What is legal is not always right. What’s illegal isn’t always bad, ”he wrote.
“We’re talking about doing the right thing, and I’m not trying to appear righteous,” Viall added in a video on TikTok on Wednesday. “I cannot imagine that any of these people thought that someone would watch. If you are going to use public funds and operate on a public platform, you will be open to criticism. It’s semantics to pretend you did the right thing. “
Bachelorette Season 14 Jason Tartic posted a four-minute video on his Instagram account explaining why he did not apply for a PPP loan even though he was considering it.
“I was very close to filling out one,” Tartic said in the video. “But I just thought, ‘This isn’t fair.’ That’s why I didn’t. “
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