"I'm not a fan of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette either," Williams said

By Natalie Stone and Robyn Merrett
May 17, 2019 11:46 PM
Wendy Williams and Kelly Ripa
Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images; Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

Wendy Williams is sticking up for Kelly Ripa after the Live with Kelly and Ryan host made controversial comments about the Bachelor franchise.

During the “Hot Topics” segment of The Wendy Williams Show on Friday, Williams, 54, gave her opinion on the ABC dating reality series and its spin-offs, which she called “degrading,” while also coming to Ripa’s defense.

“I’m not a fan of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette either,” Williams said. “It’s so stupid, women parading themselves around. It depends on who you are, what you want to do with your life. For me, it’s degrading.”

“While I don’t care for beauty pageants and shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette where people do that, these days the contestants I believe are a little bit smarter and they end up, well, doing anything that they want. They use us for the ratings,” Williams added.

Despite her feelings about the show, Williams acknowledged that the show is “just entertainment” and “it’s not that serious.” However, she believes creator Mike Fleiss should have refrained from attacking Ripa, 48, and suggesting the show paid her salary.

“Well, if memory serves me, Kelly Ripa has been at ABC … longer than The Bachelor‘s been on. She jumped into an already successful show, she continued to keep it an already successful show, so if anybody’s paying anybody’s salary, just saying,” said Williams.

Since 2001, Ripa has been co-hosting morning talk show Live. When she started, it was Live with Regis and Kelly until 2011. Then it was Live with Kelly before becoming Live with Kelly and Michael and now it’s Live with Kelly and Ryan.

The feud between Ripa and the reality TV heavyweights began on Tuesday when the former All My Children star said, “Guys, you know how I feel about this show. It disgusts me.”

“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,” she continued. “You know how I feel, ladies: We are too special to be arguing over a guy,” Ripa said.

Both Bachelor Chris Harrison, 47, and Fleiss clapped back on Twitter, with Harrison writing, “Look out #BachelorNation@KellyRipa⁩ is coming after you and your ‘disgusting’ Monday night habit.”

Fleiss, 55, chimed in with, “Easy, @KellyRipa#TheBachelor franchise pays your salary!”

The incident came just days before current Bachelorette Hannah Brown appeared on the daytime talk show.

Before Brown stopped by, a source close to Live with Kelly and Ryan told PEOPLE that Fleiss and Harrison should maybe think before they critique.

Kelly ripa, chris harrison, mike fleiss
Kelly Ripa, Chris Harrison, Mike Fleiss
| Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images; Noam Galai/Getty Images; Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“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.

According to the source, “They can’t handle lighthearted criticism from a successful woman who has been on TV longer than their contestants have been alive,” adding, “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.”

The source went on to point out, “Kelly has always slammed Bachelor/Bachelorette in the past with way worse comments, so why engage her now? Because they must be getting desperate.”

Ripa had not publicly commented on the responses from Harrison and Fleiss before Brown’s appearance on her show Thursday, when she opened up the interview by poking fun at the whole situation.

“Hannah, I’m not sure what they told you backstage … if you blink twice, I will get you out of here,” the host joked before Brown, 24, laughed and said she was happy to be there.

Hannah Brown The Bachelorette
Hannah Brown
| Credit: ABC/Ed Herrera

“I was glad I had an opportunity to be on the show and talk about my world,” Brown tells PEOPLE. “Kelly obviously doesn’t have the same opinions about the show that I am on, so it was great for me to be able to share my views being someone that has actually been a part of the show.”

And Brown says despite the critics claiming the show sets a bad example for women, The Bachelorette “has helped me in my life,” she explains. “It has bettered me and empowered me.”

Brown continues: “There are always going to be people who don’t understand or want to say something negative. But ultimately I try to put my focus on the people who have been supportive and loving and encouraging throughout my journey.”

And Brown doesn’t have any hard feelings towards the daytime talk show co-host for stating her opinions.

“I don’t take it personally at all,” she says. “We can agree to disagree.”