Colton Underwood Slams Bachelor Producers and Chris Harrison for 'Abuse' of Cassie Randolph
"The whole thing with the franchise and them interviewing her is what really bugged me and really upset me," he said
Earlier this summer, Underwood seemingly called out Randolph on Instagram for discussing their split during her appearance on the show. But on a new episode of the Reality Steve podcast, the former football player said his anger was actually directed at the franchise for taking "advantage" of Randolph.
"Cass stayed extremely professional and extremely quiet about our breakup," he said. "What bugged me was the fact that that show took advantage of her. I get very defensive over people I love and I know Cass is a big girl and she can fight her own battles, but I just know her heart and she doesn't want to rock the boat and she loves people, even if they abuse her or even if they take advantage of her, which they did."
Underwood, 28, said producers convinced Randolph, 25, that they were bringing her on the show to "get to know her" and discuss her latest work and personal ventures.
"I was like, 'That's not what they're going to do to you,'" he said, revealing that he spoke to Randolph about the appearance. "I wasn't here to tell her what she can and can't do, that's just not who I am. I was like, 'Do it, but I'm just warning you, this is what's going to happen. They are going to point questions in my direction. I don't care how long you talk to them, they are only going to air the parts about us or me.' Which is what they did."
During the retrospective series, host Chris Harrison pressed Randolph for information about the breakup throughout the interview, despite her insistence on keeping the details private.
"I was more frustrated for her, because she just got completely taken advantage of and completely manipulated," said Underwood. "You have Chris Harrison pointing questions saying, 'I sense you don't want to make Colton mad, or you're afraid you're going to upset Colton. It's like, 'No, Chris. I literally talked to her the morning of that interview. We're good.' Stop worrying about me or painting me to be this controlling or angry person. I'm not angry. If there's anybody I'm upset about or upset with, it's you guys."
"The whole thing with the franchise and them interviewing her is what really bugged me and really upset me," he added.
Reps for ABC and Harrison had no comment.
Underwood said he has since "distanced" himself from the Bachelor franchise and does not plan to work with them anymore.
"I've distanced myself from them, just for my own mental health right now," he said. "There have just been too many things that I've found out about and that has happened for me to feel comfortable working with them on a professional level, not even personal."
After the episode aired in July, Randolph herself took to social media to express her frustrations, saying she wasn't happy with the way the interview was "edited" to focus on her quotes about her ex.
"So I'm a little irritated about a few things right now," she said on her Instagram Story. "Just watched the Bachelor interview that aired and I feel like I'm speaking to no one."
"I've said this a million times, you guys cannot judge something that you know is edited and know nothing about," she continued. "There was so much more that I talk about in that interview than just our relationship."
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"First off, I want to say this is one of the hardest things I have had to share as neither one of us is quite ready to talk about it yet," Randolph wrote on Instagram. "However, because our relationship is such a public one, our silence on the matter has been speaking for us. Colton and I have broken up, but have decided to remain a part of each others lives. With all that we have gone through, we have a special bond that will always be there. I love Colton very much and have an enormous amount of respect for him. We have both learned and grown so much these past couple years, and will always have each others back. Always."
Underwood captioned his post, "Its [sic] been a crazy few months to say the least, Cass and I have been doing a lot of self-reflecting. Sometimes people are just meant to be friends — and that's okay. We both have grown immensely and been through so much together — so this isn't the end of our story, it's the start of a whole new chapter for us."
A source told PEOPLE at the time that the two "just weren't on the same page."
"Colton really wanted to settle down and get married — he's been ready for a long time. And Cassie just wasn't ready," the source said. "They both knew it wasn’t going to work."