Inside Bachelor in Paradise Scandal: What Role Do Producers Play with Sex, Booze and Bad Behavior? – PEOPLE.com
In the days since Warner Bros. announced that it had officially halted production of Bachelor in Paradise due to an investigation into allegations of misconduct, a spotlight has been cast on the popular reality show — prompting new focus on the role producers play.
PEOPLE sources previously confirmed season 4 production was suspended after a producer raised concerns about an alleged sexual encounter between contestant DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, both of whom had reportedly been drinking heavily all day. Olympios and Jackson have since both retained legal representation.
On Wednesday each issued a statement, with Olympios, 24, calling herself a “victim” and Jackson, 30, claiming his character “has been assassinated.”
While the specific details of the alleged incident remain unclear, a source close to production tells PEOPLE that the investigation is still ongoing, and that includes reviewing the tapes, but the source believes the matter will be resolved within a week.
Until then, many questions persist surrounding the production team’s involvement: Do they intervene when things are going too far, or contestants are drinking too much? How involved are they with the storylines?
PEOPLE caught up with several insiders, including former contestants and a past producer of the franchise, in order to shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes in Bachelor Nation.
Alcohol & Personal Responsibility
One point widely agreed upon by all is that while alcohol is readily available and heavily consumed by many, it’s certainly not forced on the contestants by the producers. But are they encouraging certain behaviors?
“Producers aren’t forcing people to do questionable things,” insists a former producer. “There are no storylines written. The worst thing they’ll do is let people know that the people who succeed here tend to make a lot of friends, or find someone to be in a relationship with.”
And several former contestants agree.
“When I was filming any Bachelor franchise show, I was in charge of my choices — I never once felt like I couldn’t make a decision for myself, or that I was expected to do anything outside of my own will,” BiP season 2 contestant Tenley Molzahn tells PEOPLE.
“All of us cast members have a choice as to how we want to behave — how far we’ll go, how much we drink,” she says. “We sign a lot of legal paperwork acknowledging that we know we have these choices.”
How “Scripted” Are the Situations?
“The producers are there to help people interact with each other and ask questions, but in no way are they there to tell you what to do and to behave certain ways,” says season 2 contestant Daniel Maguire. “We’re all able to do and say what we want, and we’re all responsible for our own actions.”
Speaking with PEOPLE about her experience, current season 4 cast member Jasmine Goode says, “From my point of view, I just want to say that producers, they always engaged with the cast members — but the cast is never encouraged or forced to engage in behaviors, or make any statements or consume alcohol. Producers definitely check in on us and they make sure we’re comfortable with what they need but they never force us to do anything we don’t want to do.”
“I’m not bashing any side, but from what I know, production hasn’t ever made us do anything we don’t want to do or forced us to drink and things like that. And that’s what I think is being claimed right now,” says Goode, who adds that Jackson “was definitely like the type of guy who checked up on the girls and was attentive while we were there.”
While he never made an appearance in Paradise, former Bachelorette contestant and Bachelor star Ben Higgins also insists producers never “forced [him] into anything.”
“I was talked through as a friend in situations,” he said this week on his iHeartRadio podcast with Ashley Iaconetti, Almost Famous. “If I was confused, they would sit with me and allow me to speak my mind and help me process. Yes, there’s 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.”
Season 3 BiP contestant Ryan Beckett tells PEOPLE that while producers encouraged him to “be more open,” that was as far as their prodding went.
“I didn’t get any encouragement to go sleep with a girl or to go hook up with a girl,” he says. “But I definitely had encouragement in terms of moral support to boost my confidence.”
“It might be surprising, but I really think that they try to keep it, relatively speaking, as genuine as possible,” he adds. “They may insert an idea in your head, but they want it to come from you more than anything. There’s some leading the horse to water, but at the end of the day, it’s always the cast that has to decide if they want to drink or hook up.”
But other contestants have experienced a different side of things.