“The Bachelorette’s” hometown dates episode took a sad turn Monday (July 7) because it was at this point in the filming process that former cast member Eric Hill was killed in a paragliding accident. Host Chris Harrison learned of the death during filming, and he writes in his weekly EW blog that he and the producers discussed at length how to tell the cast and whether or not to film it.
“There were those who didn’t think we should shoot it at all and not include this news. I vehemently disagreed,” writes Harrison. “I thought we should not only shoot it, but felt we should include it on this show for you to see as well. I knew this was going to be a brutally sad moment for all of us, but that’s why I felt so strongly we should show it.
“There were a few reasons I felt strongly about this. First of all, I knew this was going to greatly affect all of us, especially Andi. How could we not show or talk about an event that absolutely changed and affected everything and everyone on our show? … To me acting like it just didn’t happen and going on like Eric never existed seemed horribly dishonest and disrespectful. I don’t believe we get to choose in life what we get to deal with and what we don’t. I don’t believe you get to just act like things didn’t happen because it’s uncomfortable or sad. You have to take the good with the bad in life.”
Harrison also details the timeline of what happened, and it jibes with what we saw on the aired episode. Harrison flew back from New York City the day he heard of Hill’s passing, and Andi was just flying back from Dallas to Los Angeles having completed her hometown date with Marcus and preparing for the rose ceremony. Harrison felt like the best place to tell everyone was at his house.
“I was immediately glad we were all together and that we were at my home,” writes Harrison. “You also saw how producers and crew all came in and we all shared a hug and a moment together. This went on late into the night as we all sat around and shared our grief. At the end of the night we were all sitting around sharing funny stories about Eric from our all-too-short time with him. When it was time to leave, we all shared a hug, raised a glass, and said goodnight.”
Harrison finishes his blog by writing that he realizes there will be many different opinions about the episode, but he believes in their decision to handle it the way they did. “I just think we all did our best to do what was right, and I truly believe we handled an incredibly tragic situation the best we could,” he says.