Bachelor Nation better brace for better background checks. Mike Fleiss, the creator of The Bachelor franchise, has vowed to do better when it comes to the vetting process of potential cast members for his menu of ABC reality shows.
Amid backlash over recent Bachelorette contestants Lincoln Adim and Garret Yriogen, both of whom have made headlines for their very bad pre-Bachelorette behavior, as well as recent date rape allegations against The Proposal contestant Michael J. Friday, Fleiss stated he is “horrified.”
“For the record, I am horrified that any of these abusive a******s are on our shows,” The Bachelor creator said on Twitter, according to the Daily Mail. “We are working very hard to find ways to do better.”
While Adim and Yriogen are still in the running on The Bachelorette— with the latter man the clear frontrunner for Becca Kufrin’s heart — the allegations against Friday prompted ABC to pull the second episode of Fleiss’ already controversial new ABC reality show.
While the allegations against Friday are especially serious, Mike Fleiss pointed out that a background check won’t yield results on an unreported crime.
“How are we supposed to find out about something that’s never been reported?” The Bachelor creator tweeted.
Ahead of Becca’s Bachelorette season, Garrett Yriogen’s questionable social media history, including racist and homophobic Instagram “likes,” were unearthed. Bachelor franchise star Ashley Spivey called for “a better job of social media deep dives on the dudes that try out” for The Bachelorette.
Garret apologized and started a fresh, new Instagram account, but screengrabs live on forever. And just as the Garret controversy started to cool, it was revealed that fellow Bachelorette suitor Lincoln Adim was recently convicted of indecent assault and battery in an incident that occurred two years ago.
In a statement, Warner Bros. told ABC News that producers for the reality show had no knowledge of the incident with Adim and that they were investigating why his background report did not contain information of a sexual assault. The Bachelorette contestant reportedly lied to producers about the assault.
“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 related to the recent conviction – or any other charges relating to sexual misconduct.”
The latest round of incidents come one year after Bachelorette contestant Lee Garrett came under fire for allegedly posting racist tweets to social media. Variety posted screenshots from 2015 and 2016 from a private Twitter feed appearing to belong to Rachel Lindsay’s Bachelorette suitor. The offensive tweets included racist and anti-Islam posts.
Four-time Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise star Nick Viall told People that the franchise’s current vetting process is “clearly an issue.”
“You can’t have people convicted of sexual assault on the show, or really just anywhere,” Viall told the magazine. “Obviously they need to look at their vetting process. It’s a very unfortunate situation.”
The Bachelorette is currently airing on ABC, with the Fleiss-helmed spin-off Bachelor in Paradise slated to debut later this summer.