Bachelor Nation is abuzz, and people are starting to weigh in who aren't even a part of the current controversy. Ben Higgins' response to the Bachelor in Paradise allegations is just the latest, and he comes out in defense of the producers. But there are important takeaways from his statement whether you agree with him or not, so it's definitely worth a closer look.
Update: On Wednesday, June 14, Corinne Olympios' rep released a statement about the Bachelor In Paradise allegations to Bustle:
“I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4. Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production. As a woman, this is my worst nightmare and it has now become my reality. As I pursue the details and facts surrounding that night and the immediate days after, I have retained a group of professionals to ensure that what happened on June 4 comes to light and I can continue my life, including hiring an attorney to obtain justice and seeking therapy to begin dealing with the physical and emotional trauma stemming from that evening.”
Update #2: On the evening of Wednesday, June 14, Jackson released a statement about Olympios' allegations to E! News:
"It's unfortunate that my character and family name has been assassinated this past week with false claims and malicious allegations. I will be taking swift and appropriate legal action until my name is cleared and, per the advice of legal counsel, will be seeking all available remedies entitled to me under the laws."
Update #3: On June 20, an ABC spokesperson provided the following statement to Bustle:
“We appreciate the swift and complete investigation by Warner Bros. into allegations of misconduct on the set of ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’ Given their results, the series will resume production, and will air this summer on ABC.”
Warner Bros.' statement to Bustle read,
"As we previously stated, we recently became aware of allegations regarding an incident on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico. We take all such allegations seriously. The safety, security and well-being of the cast and crew is our number one concern, and we suspended filming so that the allegations could be investigated immediately and thoroughly. Our internal investigation, conducted with the assistance of an outside law firm, has now been completed. Out of respect for the privacy interests of those involved, we do not intend to release the videotape of the incident. We can say, however, that the tape does not support any charge of misconduct by a cast member. Nor does the tape show, contrary to many press reports, that the safety of any cast member was ever in jeopardy. Production on this season of Bachelor in Paradise will be resuming, and we plan to implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.”
Update #4: On Tuesday, Corinne Olympios' lawyer Martin Singer released a statement to Bustle that read,
“It needs to be made crystal clear that production of 'Bachelor in Paradise' was shut down because of multiple complaints received from 'BIP' producers and crew members on the set. It was not shut down due to any complaint filed by Corinne against anyone. It comes as no surprise that Warner Bros., as a result of its own internal Investigation, would state that no wrong doing had occurred. Our own investigation will continue based on multiple new witnesses coming forward revealing what they saw and heard.”
Earlier: The former Bachelor added his two cents on Almost Famous, the podcast he shares with Paradise alum Ashley Iaconetti. On the show's June 13 episode, Higgins shared that he's never been in a situation within the franchise that he felt verged on dangerous.
"I was never forced into anything. I was talked through [by producers] as a friend in situations. If I was confused, they would sit with me and allow me to speak my mind and help me process. Yes, there is producing that is done. It’s a show! There are situations that happen that they need to get something out of, but it’s never a forced situation."
Before we go any further, it's important to note that Higgins has never been on Bachelor in Paradise, nor has he filmed any explicit scenes. But his input is important not in dissecting what actually happened in the alleged incident, but in understanding the relationships between cast and producers.
The filming of BIP Season 4 was recently suspended in Mexico after an alleged issue regarding a female contestant's ability to consent to an alleged inebriated sexual encounter on set, according to TMZ and PEOPLE.
It's still very early, so there's not much official information to be had, aside from the rumor that a producer has allegedly filed a lawsuit against the show. Warner Bros.' original statement on the events reads, "We have become aware of allegations of misconduct on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico. We have suspended production and we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations. Once the investigation is complete, we will take appropriate responsive action.” Bustle has reached out to both contestants for comment on the allegations, but have yet to receive a response.
Still, the lack of official word hasn't stopped former contestants from weighing in, and Higgins has said something illuminating. He trusts the producers and thinks of them as friends. He is so loyal to the crew that he's confident defending them in a situation for which he wasn't even present. That speaks really highly of the bond that he formed with them during his time on the franchise and how much trust he has placed in them.
We're still no closer to knowing what truly happened during Bachelor In Paradise Season 4, but Higgins giving a fuller idea of the bond between cast and crew is certainly interesting.