What *really* went down? Luke Pell reacted to Nick Viall’s shady claims about how he scored his Bachelor contract, including that he would’ve been the leading man “for free” and show producers never “particularly cared” for Luke.

“I can’t speak to where Nick gets info related to Bachelor casting contracts from network attorneys, but I will say that was very gracious of Nick to say that he would have done it for free,” Luke said in a statement to E! News. “In light of that comment by Nick, I know a few veteran’s charities and children’s charities that would greatly appreciate the support of him donating his Bachelor talent fee proceeds back. During these tough economic times many non-profits are now seeing the impact of less funding coming in during this holiday season.”

Luke Pell Shades Nick Viall's 'Bachelor' Contract Claims
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While the veteran, 37, kept things relatively civil, he didn’t exactly corroborate any of the 41-year-old’s claims that he made during an appearance on Jason Tartick’s “Trading Secrets” podcast on Wednesday, December 22. 

“I didn’t really care about the money,” Nick, who said at that time he had “lived without a job for a year,” explained. “I mean, I needed the money at the time, but I would’ve done it for free.”

The podcast host said he asked for a “reasonable” amount that was what he needed “to survive for another year.” 

“I basically said, ‘Give me this number,'” Nick continued, noting he had one demand. “Please, cast women I’m going to be into … All I cared about [were the women].”

According to Nick, he speculated the franchise passed on Luke because “he negotiated” his contract and they “had no other options” but to pass. “I don’t think the producers particularly cared for Luke Pell the person,” the Wisconsin native claimed as another reason they ultimately decided to not to go with the Bachelor Winter Games alum. 

“It’s stupid for anyone who’s offered that role [to say no],” he added. “Nickel-and-diming over [$10,000 or] $20,000 is the dumbest thing you can do given what you can do with that opportunity gives you.”

Nick was the runner-up on two seasons of The Bachelorette and a contestant on Bachelor in Paradise before becoming season 21’s leading man.

At the time, it was rumored that Luke was all but decided to be the Bachelor, and subbing him out for Nick was a last-minute decision. 

After the Christmas Cruise actor was announced as the leading man, Luke admitted he was shocked by the decision. “[We] had come to terms with a contract that everyone on both ends was happy with,” the reality star told E! in a statement, adding that he was told about the franchise’s decision right before he was due to fly out to Los Angeles for filming. “I didn’t know who the Bachelor was — I found out with the rest of America.”