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HOME > The Bachelorette > The Bachelorette 9

'The Bachelorette's' Michael Garofola: I was attacking Ben Scott's hypocrisy, not his faith or parenting


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/12/2013 

The Bachelorette star Desiree Hartsock eliminated Michael Garofola during Monday night's broadcast the ABC reality dating series' ninth season.

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Michael, a 33-year-old federal prosecutor from Miami Beach, FL, was ousted traditionally during the seventh episode's Rose Ceremony right before he would've received a hometown date. He was sent packing after he had finally embarked on his first one-on-one date of the season with Des.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Michael talked to Reality TV World about his The Bachelorette experience and emotional exit. To read what he had to say, click here. Below are some additional highlights from his call. Check back with us soon for more.

So it seemed like you were really on a mission this season to weed out the guys that were not there for the right reasons and could potentially hurt Desiree, but do you think it hurt you in the long run?
 
Michael Garofola:
You know, I don't think that it hurt me in the long run.  I think that Desiree knew what my goal was to, you know, defend her and to protect her and to shine a light on some things that maybe she wouldn't know not having lived in the house with all of us.

But, in hindsight, obviously in having gained some perspectives since these things happened, I will say that maybe I took it a little too far and maybe was a little too aggressive, particularly, you know, in front of Desiree on the two-on-one date with [Ben Scott]. But I do think that that is part of my personality, that I don't sort of act fake to people's faces and talk badly about them behind their backs.

I sort of like to hash things out and confront people to their face and give them an opportunity to, you know, explain themselves and justify their actions. So I think in the long run, I think Desiree understood that, and I think that that was reflected in her positive comments about me during our time in Portugal together.
 
You mentioned that looking back on things, you felt you were maybe a bit too aggressive in the two-on-one date with Ben, and I saw that Chris Harrison maybe thought that Des had kind of made up her mind after that date that you weren't the one for her.  Do you regret that date?

Michael Garofola: I don't regret what I was doing.  I mean, let me make this clear. I mean, I think there's been some confusion about this, is that, you know, I was not attacking Ben for his faith or for his parenting skills.  What I was trying to show is that Ben was, from what I thought, Ben was misrepresenting who he truly was and his words were not matching his actions.

And there was no better example of that than on that two-on-one date at dinner when Des asked the question, "What is most important to you?" -- a very open question she asked.  And she didn't ask about faith or church or whatever, and Ben affirmatively said, "The most important thing to me is going to church every Sunday."

He didn't say, "Practicing my faith;" He didn't say, "God;" He didn't say, "Religion." He said, "The literal act of going to church every Sunday is what is most important to me and what I want to do with my family every Sunday." And I just saw the hypocrisy in that because on the biggest day of holy obligation... in all of Christianity, he was the only member of the house not to go to church and not to attend church.

[So] let's go back to this conversation in Munich, because I think that this is important and this is something that I do want to sort of clarify. And so in a sense, you know, I guess this is the quid pro quo here of my answering your questions and also having an opportunity to clarify something that I want to make sure is clear.

And that is that -- and I'll repeat this one thing -- what I was not doing was attacking Ben's practice of his religion or his faith or his parenting skills.  What I was doing was trying to show the contradiction and hypocrisy and inconsistencies between his actions and his words.

And that was epitomized, I believe, at that dinner conversation when Des asked the both of us, "What is the most important thing or tradition you want to have with your family?" She didn't ask about religion or anything.
 
And then affirmatively gave the answer, "Well, the most important thing to me is to go to church every Sunday with my family," and I found that odd.  The words that he said were odd considering his actions on Easter Sunday, the biggest holiday... So that would seem to contradict his statement that going to church every Sunday is so important. 

And, you know, it wasn't the fact that it was church or whatever.  It was just the sort of the lie -- I don't know if it's a lie, but sort of the misrepresentation of who he is -- trying to [portray] himself as this forward, this manicured version of himself, this, you know, southern gentleman who goes to church all the time. And he, you know, talks nothing about his son.

I mean, when the cameras were off, that wasn't the case, and when he had an opportunity to go to church, whether it was Catholic or German, I mean, there are plenty of Christian churches in Germany.

If church is the most important thing to him and Easter Sunday is the most important day to go to church, I would think he would've found a way to do that. So that was the point and the message I was trying to send.  And I apologize for offending anyone if it came across that I was attacking his religion, because that is far from what I was doing.
  
Have you actually talked to Ben since he left the show?

Michael Garofola: No, no, no.  We are not allowed to talk to the other guys on the show until after Men Tell All.  So that is my company line on that.

Well then if you haven't talked to him, have you thought about what you might say to him at the Men Tell All?

Michael Garofola: No, you know?  I mean, look. My incentive and my motivation when it came to confronting Ben was in a setting where I felt protective of Desiree and I felt that, you know, there were things Desiree should know about him before she ultimately makes the decision that's best for her.

It's safe to say we're no longer in that setting, you know, in a sense I've been fired from that job -- to protect Desiree.  So I look at Desiree as a good friend and, of course, I would always have her back no matter what as a friend. But I think she has four other guys that should or would be willing to step up in any situation and keep her safe from any kind of harm.

So I no longer feel the same sort of motivation.  I don't have any personal vendetta against Ben at all, you know?  I just, you know -- I thought that there was some hypocrisy in the what he was saying at the time and the things he was doing, but, you know, I don't have any hard feelings.  I don't hate the guy. 

I don't think he was, quote/unquote, "a villain."  I mean, you know, these are just archetypes and things that people -- labels that people put on things, but at the time, I felt very justified in doing what I did. And looking back, yes, I was a little -- I'm very passionate when I feel strongly about something, and maybe my passion got the best of me in a very ultra-competitive setting.

I mean, look. Here is The Bachelorette, which is competitive in and of itself, I guess, to an extent, and then there's a two-on-one date in which someone's going home and you're with the guy you like the least in the house, I mean, if that's not going to get your competitive juices flowing, I don't know what is.

So maybe a little bit of, you know, I think it was a little too competitive, a little too passionate and a little too aggressive. But now, I'm not in that same setting anymore.  Ben and I will never be competing for the same girl again.  So I don't have that same animus that I did then.  
  
In the show, you said you were cheated on in your last relationship and Des was the first girl you could really see yourself trusting.  Given that she kind of broke your heart, I was wondering if you were ready to start dating again or did she set you back even more?

Michael Garofola: Okay, I have to clarify something from my conversation with Desiree because of, unfortunately, the way that that conversation appeared on television. It's a little misleading.  My ex-girlfriend did not cheat on me.  My ex-girlfriend and I, as I have stated to Des -- this is what the full story is of what I told her.

My ex-girlfriend and I did long distance, we lived together, it didn't work out, I was trying very hard to salvage the relationship, you know?  She, you know -- we -- I wanted to get back together and work things out and then that's when I saw that she was already skiing with another man.

So it wasn't that she was living with me at the time and we were still boyfriend/girlfriend and serious and then she went and cheated on me.  I mean, that would've been really bold, but she didn't do that.  It was just that I thought that we were going to get back together and things were going to work out and I was sort of led to believe that that would happen.

And then I saw this, you know, evidence to the contrary, and that's why I was so devastated.  So I just want to make that clear; She did not cheat on me.  It was just that I was heartbroken to learn that she had moved on so quickly and so thoroughly with someone else that, you know, I don't know if that now neuters your question entirely or if you still want to know the answer or what.

Yes, please continue.

Michael Garofola: The one thing I took away from the experience with Des -- I took many things away, but one of the most important things I took away, was that I do have that ability to love again and that my heart is open to loving again.

And I thought that it might be closed off after going through the rollercoaster I went through with my ex. And I think that that is completely attributed to my time meeting Des and going through this journey, and, you know, I felt hopeful. 

I felt hopeful that I was capable of falling in love again and I was having the feeling, you know, those butterflies -- or whatever you want to call them -- again for the first time. And so I do think that I, you know, am a trusting person in general and that I would be open to falling in love again and having a relationship with someone again.

So with that said, would you ever consider being the next The Bachelor star?

Michael Garofola: I mean, that's a funny question.  I think anytime you're -- if I were to be offered something like that position, I mean, obviously I would consider it.  I mean, that's flattering, completely flattering. But, you know, I think, look.

Any of those four remaining guys, if it comes down to them selecting someone from this season rather than someone else from somewhere -- you know, from another season or whatever -- however they decide, I have no insight into that, but I think they can't go wrong with any of those guys. If I were asked, I would have to consider it. I am happily back into my job and my career and getting back to normal here in Miami. 

So, I'm not sure what I would say, but anytime you're offered something [that's] such an honor and a flattering thing to be offered, I would. Of course I would consider it, especially if at that time, I'm still single and still looking for love.

Because I'll be honest, in my life, I have everything I want except for the most important thing which is someone to have a family with. So I would have to give it some serious thought.

Above are some additional highlights from Michael's Thursday conference call with reporters. To read what he had to say to Reality TV World specifically, click here. Check back with us soon for more.



(Photo credit ABC)


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