Fans of The Bachelor are used to blurred-out moments on the dating show, usually caused by skimpy swimwear, but the season 28 premiere included a head-scratcher: a censored Canadian flag.
When Maria Georgas exited the limo to meet Joey Graziadei during the Monday, January 22, episode of the ABC series, she presented him with a small Canadian flag in honor of her home country. When Joey, 28, asked whether she still lives in Canada, Maria, 29, said that she does but noted, “I can change that.”
The exchange was pretty standard as first-night intros go, but fans were left confused about why producers blurred the Canadian flag, both as Maria handed it to Joey and as he wore it in his pocket. “Why is the Canada flag blurred out? WHAT DID WE DO,” asked one Canadian fan in a post shared via X. Another viewer wrote, “Catching up on the Bachelor premiere and can someone tell me why they blurred the Canada flag?”
While some fans hoped there was some sort of offscreen international incident, the truth is much less dramatic, per a Tuesday, January 23, report from TVLine. A source close to the show directed the outlet to the Canadian government’s official rules and regulations regarding the use of its national flag.
The flag and the maple leaf are “protected against unauthorized use for commercial purposes,” meaning that ABC would have had to request official permission from the Canadian government in order to show the flag on TV. Based on the fact that the flag was censored during Monday’s broadcast, permission was either denied or never requested.
While Maria’s patriotic gift was hidden from view, Joey wasn’t shy about his interest in her, giving her a rose after the cocktail party.
Earlier in the episode, Maria said that she’s been single for five years. “I’m so over just casual dating,” she added. “I tend to push people away. But this time, I don’t want to run from a chance with Joey.”
Joey exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month that he had a hard time adjusting to the idea of dating more than 30 women at once.
“It 100 percent tested me. I wouldn’t be myself if it didn’t test me,” he explained. “It’s something that felt very unnatural early on. I felt unnatural through the whole process, and people will see that. I tried to be as open and honest about that. I didn’t try to act like I was supposed to be in this role, or I had it figured out. That wouldn’t be me to do that, but the best thing I could do each time, what I kept trying to do, was do it to the best of my ability and just kind of trust that I was doing my best so I could kind of live with everything that comes out of it.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.