Like most reality shows, The Bachelorette requires that participants undergo a rigorous background check and screening process. After reports that contestant star Lincoln Adim was convicted of assault surfaced on Wednesday, in an interview with TMZ published Thursday, former cast member Robby Hayes commented on Adim's assault conviction. He, like many fans, is asking how ABC and the series' production company Warner Bros. missed Adim's initial charge on May 31, 2016.
Hayes was the runner-up on JoJo Fletcher's season of the show, and has since appeared on Bachelor in Paradise, so he's been through the network's vetting process multiple times. And he told TMZ that cast members are required to disclose any prior crimes. When asked if Adim could have lied in order to make it on the show, Hayes said, "I don't think he could have. I mean, even on the application itself you have to disclose all the arrests, even if you weren't convicted, so I'm not sure."
Warner Bros., however, might disagree with Hayes' assessment and there is no evidence that either the production company or ABC had any prior knowledge of Adim's case. In a statement provided to Bustle, Warner Bros. denied having any prior knowledge of the charges against Adim. Read the statement, found below in full:
"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 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, which we will share when we have it."
The network and production company's reported lack of prior knowledge aside, Hayes said he hopes Adim's conviction will encourage everyone involved with the show to take sexual assault even more seriously. "I do think it'll spark change with Warner Bros., with NZK [Productions], with ABC," he told TMZ. "Because, you know what, the whole world's changing, and we've seen that in the last year-and-a-half in regards to sexual assault cases, so they've gotta conform with it."
In 2017, Bachelor in Paradise faced a sexual misconduct scandal when production was shut down following a complaint from a producer, which alleged that contestant DeMario Jackson had engaged in nonconsensual sex with fellow contestant Corinne Olympios. According to Hayes, this year BiP could have a new scandal on its hands. In his interview, Hayes hinted that both he and Adim might appear on the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise, telling TMZ, "Hey, I might see him in Paradise if they took him out there before they found this out, so who knows."
Blogger Reality Steve first reported the news on Wednesday that Adim had been convicted in May 2018 of indecent assault and battery, following his arrest for groping and assaulting a woman on a harbor cruise ship in May 2016. Adim was sentenced just days before Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette premiered on ABC.
Suffolk County District Attorney Press Secretary Jake Wark confirmed the conviction in a statement to Bustle on Wednesday, which read,
"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."
Wark also confirmed that a complaint was first issued against Adim on May 31, 2016.
The show's screening process was recently called into question on a separate occasion, when reports circulated in May that fellow contestant Garrett Yrigoyen had apparently liked various posts on social media that mocked undocumented immigrants, trans people, and David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, Huffington Post reported.
As of the most recent episode of The Bachelorette on June 11, both Adim and Yrigoyen are still on the show, and it's unclear how, if at all, reports of Adim's conviction will affect the remainder of Kufrin's season.
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.