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Ben Higgins talks 'Bachelor in Paradise' scandal: I was never forced to drink or follow a storyline on 'The Bachelor'


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/14/2017 

Ben Higgins has given his two cents on the Bachelor in Paradise investigation, and to the best of his knowledge, the Season 20 The Bachelor star supports the franchise.

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Since news of Bachelor in Paradise's suspension surfaced due to allegations of misconduct regarding a sexual encounter between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, Bachelor Nation has been wondering whether producers didn't do enough to prevent, or at least stop, such a drunken incident from happening.

Some people are pointing fingers at the crew of Bachelor in Paradise for also contributing to the "misconduct" by providing endless alcoholic beverages and allegedly persuading cast members to hookup with certain people or follow crazy storylines.

"People assume situations are set up and people are forced into different scenarios. They assume we are forced to drink. In my experience, those were never the case. I was never forced into anything," Ben, 29, said on his Ben & Ashley: Almost Famous podcast with The Bachelor alum Ashley Iaconetti on Tuesday.

"I was talked through 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. And yes, there is producing that is done. It's a show. There are situations that happen that they need to get something out of it, but it's never a forced situation."

Ben continued, "They don't write a storyline before the season starts. A storyline makes itself up each and every day during the process of filming The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise."

Production on Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise was shut down one week ago after a producer filed a complaint with Warner Bros. over alleged sexual activity that made her "uncomfortable" between DeMario and Corinne, according to prior reports.

The producer was allegedly concerned DeMario was taking advantage of Corinne since she appeared too drunk to consent to their aggressive PDA. (However, sources recently told E! News that the crew member to file the complaint never actually witnessed the sexual activity, nor did she view recorded footage prior to taking action).

Sources close to DeMario, on the other hand, told TMZ earlier this week that Corinne actually initiated kissing and foreplay with DeMario on Bachelor in Paradise during the first day of filming, which ultimately led to oral sex in the pool.

The DeMario sources say that he feels he did nothing wrong and wants Warner Bros. to release the footage of the sexual encounter to prove his innocence.

"People are human. People make mistakes. We are not perfect, and no one is going to be perfect at their jobs," Ben explained in his podcast, adding that he believes Bachelor in Paradise producers were simply trying to tape a storyline that was unfolding right in front of them.

"I think as we continue to get more information, it'll be interesting to see how the franchise handles this, because either way, however this plays out from this point forward, if the worst accusations that are being made are true, or if maybe all of the rumors being spread aren't true, this will have a ripple effect on the franchise."

Ashley appeared on two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, the show's second and third installments. She told Ben that she had never seen anything that "should've been stopped that I thought was morally wrong."

A former Bachelor in Paradise producer recently opened up to People about what goes on behind the scenes, including "a lot of sex."

"Producers aren't forcing people to do questionable things. There are no storylines written," the former producer said.

And when things have gone too far in the past, the former producer insisted staff generally intervenes, "especially if someone has gotten too drunk and can't handle themselves."

"If someone's had a few drinks, but seem to know what they're doing, you're probably going to let that go. If someone is passing out or slurring, you're going to take care of them," he revealed.

"Producers absolutely step in if they think there is something bad going on. They're all over the place and monitoring absolutely everything. The majority of producers are women and there's a real sensitivity to this sort of stuff about being taken advantage of."

Warner Bros. said in a recent statement the company is looking into "allegations of misconduct" on the set of Bachelor in Paradise, and once the investigation is complete, "appropriate responsive action" will be taken.

The franchise's longtime host, Chris Harrison, insisted on Good Morning America that "safety and care of the cast and crew" is of the utmost importance and he will keep fans informed when it comes to the future of the season and the show in general.

"It is my sincere hope that we can come to a quick resolution on this and get back to work very soon," Chris said in his June 13 statement.


Ben Higgins/Instagram

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