Mike Fleiss, the mastermind behind the Bachelor franchise and ABC’s new reality dating series The Proposal, is speaking out about recent headlines linking contestants from the shows with sexual misconduct allegations.
Fleiss said he was “horrified” that the men accused in the scandals had made it onto the programs. He also promised that they “are working very hard to find ways to do better.”
The producer’s comment comes on the heels of two revelations, the first of which involved current Bachelorette contestant Lincoln Adim. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Adim had been convicted of indecent assault and battery for a 2016 incident in which he was accused of groping and assaulting a woman on a Boston harbor cruise.
His conviction came one week before The Bachelorette‘s May 28 premiere. Warner Bros. Television said that, despite conducting thorough background checks, no one in production had “any knowledge about the incident or charges when Lincoln Adim was cast, and he himself denied ever having engaged in or having been charged with any sexual misconduct.”
Then, just last week, ABC pulled The Proposal‘s second episode after a contestant was accused by a Milwaukee woman of facilitating her sexual assault. “An allegation has been made against a contestant on next week’s episode of The Proposal,” ABC said in a statement. “While the accusation was not related to the contestant’s appearance on the program, we take it very seriously.”
Although Fleiss says his productions are working to improve the casting process, he originally came under fire for tweeting, “How are we supposed to find out about something that’s never been reported??? #TheProposal.”
The Bachelorette was hit with controversy earlier in the season as well, when it was reported that contestant Garrett Yrigoyen had previously liked Instagram posts condemning Parkland students and making fun of immigrants and the trans community. He has since apologized.
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(photo via Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)