The last year has been financially difficult for many small businesses. Restaurant owners, live event venue owners and musicians, and other small mom and pop businesses drowned during a grueling year of decreased spending. But you know who we did not think about in all of this time? Wealthy, reality TV influencers. However, it turns out that during this trying time, many of them applied for funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While intended for small, struggling businesses who needed to bring back furloughed employees, numerous well-known Bachelor Nation members received PPP loans over the last year.
Current Bachelorette host and previous lead Tayshia Adams received a $20,833 loan. Colton Underwood, who starred in The Bachelor in 2019, received a $11,355 loan for his foundation. His predecessor Arie Luyendyk, the lead of The Bachelor in 2018, received a $20,830 loan. Other members of Bachelor Nation who received PPP loans include: Dale Moss, Bryan Abasolo, and Peter Kraus— who runs a gym in Wisconsin.
Perhaps even more important than who applied for the funds is who actually got paid when the bank dispersed the loan. Adams filed under a one-person LLC, and says the money went toward the salary of an assistant she’s “committed to retaining for the foreseeable future.” Luyendyk took the loan out under his company called Instagram Husband LLC—which lists two employees. The company is run by him and his wife, former Bachelor contestant Lauren Burnham Luyendyk. They run the business out of their Scottsdale, Arizona home. In April of this year, the Luyendyks released a video sharing the news of a second home in Hawaii.
The well-known Bachelor Nation member who received the least money from the PPP was Colton Underwood. He received a PPP loan for the Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation, which works to empower children with cystic fibrosis. Classified under the “Civic and Social Organization” category, Underwood was given half the amount of his influencer co-stars. Adams, Luyendyk, and Moss all applied as “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers.”
Kraus has spoken openly about how he used his two loans to help keep his gym stay in business. Abasolo, funneled his loan toward Dr. Abs Lifestyle & Wellness, his fitness and chiropractic brand. Adams’ representatives attest to her use of the loan to pay her assistant, and Underwood claims none of the money went directly to him. According to Vox, everyone except the Luyendyks list one job on the PPP application—meaning it’s possible they used the money to pay themselves out. The Luyendyks and Moss have yet to comment.
Nick Viall, a star from the 21st season of The Bachelor, called out his reality show peers for going after funds that they likely did not need for survival. Viall has 1 million Instagram followers and is also the CEO of Natural Habits, an essential oil company.
Viall tweeted, “What’s legal isn’t always right. What’s illegal isn’t always wrong. Don’t know everyone’s situation, but my gut tells any alum applying for a PPP is both savvy and shitty.”
While the PPP has proven to be a less than airtight program, it takes a special kind of shitty person to apply for funds intended for small businesses struggling to stay open during a global pandemic. As former participants in one of the the country’s leading reality dating shows, with continued fame and financial opportunities rolling in after the show, there’s no way to look good applying for unnecessary funds and potentially causing less well-off businesses to miss out.