Kelly Ripa has a new defender in the midst of her recent drama with The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss and host Chris Harrison: fellow ABC alum Ellen Pompeo.
The Grey's Anatomy queen stepped into the ring on Thursday after the ABC-owned Live With Kelly and Ryan host came under fire for calling the reality dating series "gross" and "creepy." Fleiss had responded with a petty tweet, writing, "Easy, Kelly Ripa . . . The Bachelor franchise pays your salary!" Spoiler alert: Pompeo was not having it.
"Okay [Mike Fleiss], that's some handle bro! Your show does NOT pay Kelly Ripa's salary," she fired back with a tweet of her own. "Also we don't attack successful women on our network and men certainly cannot take credit for their success. Don't get me started on your show cuz I'm a savage . . . #bachelorsoooowhite."
Okay @fleissmeister... that’s some handle bro! Your show does NOT pay @KellyRipa salary. Also we don’t attack successful women on our network and men certainly cannot take credit for their success. Don’t get me started on your show cuz I’m a savage.... #bachelorsoooowhite— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) May 16, 2019
The drama initially began on Tuesday's episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan, which aired the morning after the premiere of Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette. Ripa wasted no time in making her feelings about the franchise clear, particularly in the case of the male-led version of the show, The Bachelor.
"Guys, you know how I feel about this show. It disgusts me," the 48-year-old told the audience. "And I thought that I was disgusted because I couldn't stand the idea of 25 exceptional women fighting over one ordinary fella, in my opinion . . . you know how I feel, ladies: we are too special to be arguing over a guy."
Her comments clearly got under the skin of Bachelor and Bachelorette host Harrison, who tweeted, "Look out #BachelorNation @KellyRipa is coming after you and your 'disgusting' Monday night habit." The show's creator, Fleiss, joined in with his comment about Ripa's salary being paid for by the success of the reality series.
A source close to the daytime talk show spoke to People about the controversy just before current Bachelorette Brown was due to sit down with Ripa and cohost Ryan Seacrest. According to the source, Fleiss and Harrison are just as scared of criticism and rejection as some of the contestants on their show.
"It seems the fear of rejection runs deep over there. Do these guys really want to bring attention to the fact that people should stop and look more closely at the completely outdated misogynistic nature of this show and its offensive premise of demeaning its participants?" the insider asked. "They can't handle lighthearted criticism from a successful woman who has been on TV longer than their contestants have been alive . . . Kelly's time at Live predates these shows by years, so if anything, her success in syndication and promotion of these shows pays their salaries."
Ripa has yet to publicly comment on Harrison and Fleiss's comments, as well as Pompeo's defense of her opinion, but she seems to be taking it with a grain of salt. When Brown appeared on Live on Thursday morning, Ripa joked, "Hannah, I'm not sure what they told you backstage . . . if you blink twice, I will get you out of here."
Brown, for her part, laughed and said she was happy to be there, and that being cast as the Bachelorette was "one of the most empowering things that I ever have done."