Bachelorette's Ed Swiderski: Media Victim or Major Scumbag?
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Jillian Harris, who initially considered herself lucky for becoming the Bachelorette and having her pick of 30 handsome guys, is probably kicking herself right about now. Even with that lovely ring on her finger, seeing her own face emblazoned on the latest tabloids with headlines like "How He Tricked Her" must make poor Jill... ill. Despite standing up more than once to defend Ed's accused indiscretions, the rumors against him have continued to snowball, this time with several other Bachelorette contestants piping in to claim Ed is a "shady" character who told more than one man that he had a girlfriend during filming.

She claims she knew all about this mess (which we're getting all wrong, apparently), but public opinion on Swiderski is all but decided: he's a lying, cheating dirtbag. We're just waiting around for Jillian to finally listen, admit the truth, and break off the engagement. The two girls who raised accusations against Ed have provided facts and proof: specific, timestamped emails, photos and texts with Ed's name on them. In turn, Jill and Ed have defended themselves using only vague claims about trust and confidence. And the former Bachelorette shows no signs of breaking it off, despite the "evidence" mounting against Ed.

It's all a little puzzling, and infuriating, after a whole Bachelorette season full of "he said/she said" nonsense. Why don't Jillian and Ed just come clean and wipe their hands of this mess? Ultimately, who's wrong about Ed: us, or his wife-to-be? We certainly don't know everything, and for whatever reason, Jillian is keeping mum about what, exactly, she knows. Still, there are a limited number of possible scenarios going on, and each has an obviously better way for Jillian and Ed to deal with it.

Scenario 1: Ed is totally innocent, a victim of ex-girlfriends who want to exact revenge and become famous at his expense. None of what either woman claims is true. The emails are falsified (either in timestamp, content, or both) and the happy, totally faithful couple we saw get engaged on TV are exactly what they seem.

This is what Jill and Ed want America to believe, but no such thing will happen--even if there is a wedding--until they fire back at the accusations with counter-evidence. Ed telling Good Morning America that he wouldn't "go into details" to defend himself against hard evidence is essentially an admission of guilt in the public eye. Jillian saying that she knows the real truth but would rather not discuss it because she "feels like she's in high school" is a similar cop-out. Sorry Ed, "They're just trying to hurt us because we're happy" is not a real defense. This scenario just doesn't seem possible, given the ex-girlfriends' electronic evidence, but Jill and Ed are still operating as though it is, and just hurting their public image in the process. When things get bumpy, you can only take the moral high road if you were on that road all along. And if you were, you should have no problem proving it--with more than platitudes.

A better way to deal: If you can't prove it yourself in a followup GMA special, hire a flashy private investigator to disprove the evidence or defame the exes' characters--preferably both. Claim you initially didn't want to fight fire with fire, but Ed is too good a man to suffer under this false reputation for the rest of his life. Sidenote: the only way this scenario will play out successfully is if you get married ASAP, stay married forever and have a million babies. After about the third or fourth kid, America should have forgotten this ever happened. But no guarantees.

Scenario 2: Everything the ex-girlfriends are saying is true. Ed played them on the side before, during and after taping The Bachelorette. Even though he really isn't into her, now he intends to stay true to Jill and get married just to hold onto fame and the one woman in America who doesn't think he's a scumbag. Afraid to look foolish and be alone again, Jillian is being tricked by his lies and is in major denial that Ed is a horndog creep.

This is what most people believe right now. It certainly doesn't help the situation that we had a whole season of The Bachelorette to watch Jillian throw herself at anyone who mentioned the word "engagement," while Ed looked like an all-around f***-up when he bailed on Jillian mid-season and then came back claiming he was in love--only to later become the victim of bedroom "issues" that almost sent him home.

A better way to deal: This one is easy! Jillian wakes up and realizes it's better to admit she made a mistake than to stick with this guy forever just to save face. She'll be an even more famous victim of a renowned scoundrel, and she'll still be adorable as all get-out. A quality Canadian man will come knocking... and she'll bounce back.

Scenario 3: Because of the inherent confusion and detachment that comes with being on a reality show, at the beginning Ed wasn't into Jillian, and kept seeing girls on the side because he didn't think he'd make a real connection with Jillian. Some of the emails and texts are real, but when he realized he loved Jillian, he stopped sleeping with the other women, and stopped contact altogether after he proposed. He may have even continued seeing the women after proposing on camera, but after several months of secretly seeing Jillian and establishing a real connection off-camera, Ed is now entirely faithful. They're both real people who have made big mistakes, but they admit that--to each other. For fear of feeding the flame and making themselves look desperate and douche-y (respectively), and knowing that the American public isn't as forgiving, Jill and Ed agree not to admit that the accusations are true, even though they now have a completely honest and faithful relationship.  They agree that separating themselves from the show, the media and tabloids is the only way their relationship will survive, and they just pray it will blow over eventually.

The truth almost certainly lies somewhere within or near Scenario 3. Life is rarely as cut-and-dry as Scenario 1 or 2, and people are rarely purely good or purely evil, despite the one-dimensional treatment they may get on reality TV. 

A better way to deal: I suggest moving to a far-off country with very few televisions. And a very long engagement.

-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image: US Weekly