The franchise has seen its share of controversy in the past, but reports that The Bachelorette's Lincoln Adim was convicted of assault take things to an unprecedented level. The news was first broken on Wednesday by blogger Reality Steve, and the allegations have fans expressing frustration at his inclusion in the series, with many either assuming the producers of the series knew about the charges when casting him or wondering how it would be possible for them not to know. Bustle has reached out to ABC and Warner Bros., who produces the ABC show, for comment regarding fans' concerns about Adim being cast on the series, but both declined to comment at this time.
Update: Warner Bros. issued the following statement to TMZ on Wednesday night:
"No one on the 'Bachelorette' production had any knowledge about the incident or charges when Lincoln Adim was cast, and he himself denied ever having engaged in or been charged with any sexual misconduct."
"We employ a well- respected and highly experienced third party who has done thousands of background checks consistent with industry standards to do a nationwide background check in this case. The report we received did not reference any incident or charge relating to the recent conviction - or any other charges relating to sexual misconduct."
"We are currently investigating why the report did not contain this information."
Earlier: Reality Steve, who's real name Stephen Carbone, is known for his insider info on Bachelor Nation; he continually posts full spoilers for Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons months before they air. But the new information he shared with followers this week was much more serious than who puts a ring on Becca Kufrin's finger at the end of this current season. The blogger revealed on Wednesday that he'd been tipped off on June 11 that Adim was set to make an appearance at a Boston courthouse that day, allegedly to plead out on a sexual misconduct charge.
Carbone was able to get in contact with the Suffolk County District Attorney Press Secretary Jake Wark. The Suffolk DA Press Secretary was able to confirm the charges against Adim to Bustle via a prepared statement identical to the one he gave Reality Steve. (The DA also confirmed the identity of Adim's lawyer for this case — Greg Johnson — although Johnson would not confirm his representation, or issue any statement on behalf of his alleged client.) Wark's statement to Bustle reads:
"Mr. Adim was convicted on May 21 of indecent assault and battery for groping and assaulting an adult female on a harbor cruise ship early on May 30, 2016. He was sentenced to one year in a house of correction, with that term suspended for a two-year probationary period. The judge ordered him to stay away from the victim and attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week during those two years. If he complies with the judge’s orders, he will not have to serve out his term, but if he fails to comply with those orders or re-offends, he could be ordered to serve out the year behind bars."
There's a lot to unpack here, but one important detail to note are the dates. The conviction itself is only a few weeks old, so that aspect wouldn't have cropped up on a background check pre-Bachelorette, but the charge could have. This wasn't an issue of delayed reporting, after all — for example, an incident taking place in May 2016 and perhaps going unreported until Season 14 was announced in 2018, when Adim's face was everywhere. On the contrary, Wark was able to confirm to Bustle that the complaint was issued on May 31, 2016, just one day after the assault. Casting for The Bachelorette's current season was advertised as ongoing during Arie's season of The Bachelor in early 2018 just before Becca was announced as the next Bachelorette. Adim was one of those first men to meet Becca during the Mar 6 "After the Final Rose" episode of Arie's season, and he made a solid first impression; there was no mention of an assault charge on his record.
Former contestant and frequent franchise whistle-blower Ashley Spivey, in particular had some strong words for the series on Twitter, urging her followers to read Carbone's post and educate themselves about the charges against Adim. "I hope everyone will take the time to read @RealitySteve’s column today," she tweeted, continuing:
"I am honestly horrified that Lincoln, who was charged with indecent assault and battery, was allowed to go on the show. I do not understand how a serious crime like this was missed during background checks."
And that's the million dollar question many fans are asking, though it should be noted there is no way of knowing whether or not the show's producers were aware of the 2016 charge.
As of the June 11 episode, Adim is still on the show. He's now one of just 17 men still in the running to become Becca's fiancé, and the two seem to have connected. In light of this new conviction, it is frustrating that he is on the show at all, but it remains to be seen how long he'll stay, taking spots from other, worthier contestants.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.