Bachelor fans were in for a plot twist of epic proportions during Monday night's season finale, during which this season's Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr., proposed to Becca Kufrin—and then, during the final hour of the show (filmed two months after the rose ceremony), broke up with the completely unsuspecting Kufrin because he decided he'd rather be with the runner-up ... while camera crews filmed the whole thing. It was aired unedited, meaning viewers got to see every bit of Kufrin's shellshocked reaction—and those viewers were not happy about it. It's not clear who raised enough money to pull this off, but Entertainment Weekly reports that there are now 16 billboards scattered around Southern California and Minnesota (Kufrin's home state) reading, "Arie... not okay, just leave. - Everyone." The statement is a reference to Luyendyk's insistence on sticking around after the breakup despite a sobbing Kufrin asking him to go. Viewers also sent Kufrin money for wine, BuzzFeed reports, while Time notes that a Minnesota state rep has promised to draft a bill banning Luyendyk from the state.
Vulture, which called the breakup scene a "spectacle of human misery," notes that while it was supposedly unedited, Luyendyk's half of the split-screen cuts to black after Luyendyk does, at one point, finally leave the house; when the video comes back, he's heading back inside, presumably at the direction of a producer. "What seemed initially designed to show us a real moment between two people ended up doing something very, very different: It became a presentation of a man being puppeteered by reality-TV producers, and it became an indictment of a franchise plummeting to new depths of ratings-mining cynicism," writes Kathryn VanArendonk. BuzzFeed notes that the show's ratings have been down all season, and by "destroying" Kufrin in the finale, it did manage to boost those ratings. On Tuesday's After the Final Rose live special (spoiler alert!), People reports viewers found out Kufrin forgave Luyendyk and, predictably, was named the next Bachelorette; viewers also got to see Luyendyk and runner-up Lauren Burnham, predictably, get engaged. (Read more The Bachelor stories.)