He's been branded "a bastard," but is The Bachelor's Jason Mesnick a liar?
Mesnick has said contractual obligations led to his messy public goodbye with former fiancée Melissa Rycroft at the taping of After the Final Rose Part One, which aired Monday. But the show's creator and executive producer tells TVGuide.com that Mesnick was under "no contractual obligation" to dump Rycroft on-air.
"How would you put that in a contract anyway?" Mike Fleiss said Wednesday. "'Everything you do in your life must be shown on ABC?' It's impossible. ... There would be no way to legislate that, frankly."
One question is whether Mesnick actually did dump Rycroft on-air, or gave her a heads-up ahead of time. In an interview with People, he said he was not allowed to see Rycroft pre-taping — which Fleiss contradicts.
"They saw each other, and they were on the phone everyday," Fleiss said. "I don't know exactly the specific timeline of when they were together and whatnot, but he had plenty of access to her, which is one of the things we really try to do for the couple... but it just wasn't working out for them. She knew it. ...
"She didn't come there thinking that they were all-good."
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mesnick suggested he called Rycroft before the After the Final Rose taping. But could that mean — gasp — that he was misleading at the taping and in his comments afterward?
"There were things I needed to tell her in person and I was not allowed to see her. That was part of the deal. I signed up for it in my contract. Your relationship is — good and bad — in front of everybody," he told People. "If I could have, I would have seen Melissa the night before. It killed me. It kills me now."
Fleiss said Rycroft seemed to realize the relationship was doomed at the start of the taping, but didn't seem to know Mesnick wanted to pursue a relationship with runner-up Molly Malaney — which he did moments after Rycroft's departure. Melissa called Jason "a bastard," and in a TVGuide.com poll, 60 percent of respondents agreed with her assessment.
Fleiss also denied that producers had manipulated Mesnick's change of heart.
"We've never done that," he said. "We never will do it."
What do you think?