Kelly Ripa’s criticism of ABC’s “Bachelor” franchise has sparked a full-on war of words, with the latest key player to join the fray being Ellen Pompeo, star of the network’s long-running medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Pompeo came to Ripa’s defense after the “Live!” co-host caught heat from “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss and host Chris Harrison. The fracas began with Ripa commenting on her morning show that the “Bachelor” franchise “disgusts me” and calling it “a gross, gross show,” as we reported earlier this week.
Harrison launched the counterattack with a tweet in which he wrote: “Look out #BachelorNation @KellyRipa is coming after you and your ‘disgusting’ Monday night habit.”
Fleiss then contributed a tweet saying: “Easy, @KellyRipa … #TheBachelor franchise pays your salary!”
The New York Post’s Page Six quotes a source close to Ripa defending the daytime fixture, saying of the Fleiss tweet: “How dumb can you get? Kelly’s salary is paid by ABC Syndication and ‘The Bachelor’ brand is produced by ABC Entertainment, they’re two separate entities, they have nothing to do with each other.”
The source adds: “And why make this so personal — Kelly’s said way worse about ‘The Bachelor’ in the past — the joke is that this is the least offensive thing she’s ever done. This just seems desperate.”
Pompeo, who is reportedly television’s highest-paid actress at $20 million a year, got in on the conflict with a tweet directed at Fleiss, writing: “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.”
The Post adds: “The popular actress then called out what she sees as a lack of diversity among the contestants featured on ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette,’ ending her message with the hashtag #bachelorsoooowhite.”
Ripa, who reportedly has yet to hear personally from Harrison or Fleiss, is “exasperated” by the whole incident, according to The Post’s source.