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Production on The Bachelor spinoff series was halted Sunday amid an internal investigation into “allegations of misconduct” on the Mexico set of the ABC reality show, which now faces the possibility of the entire season being scrapped.
The franchise host, however, says the “rumors and misinformation” being put out there are what prompted him to speak out on the sensitive subject.
“By now, no doubt, you have heard that we have suspended production on this season’s Bachelor in Paradise,” says Harrison of the fourth season being put on hold in a statement Tuesday. “I can confirm to you that this is sadly the case. Out of respect to all involved, there’s only so much I can and will say at this time. Normally with a situation like this I would not say anything until the incident is fully resolved, but with all the rumors and misinformation being put out there, I don’t find that to be possible anymore.”
Warner Bros., the production company behind the ABC hit, is conducting the investigation. According to sources, a producer suspected misconduct on the set and reported it to his or her supervisor at Warner Bros., which set the probe into motion.
“We have become aware of allegations of misconduct on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico,” said Warner Bros. on Sunday. “We have suspended production and we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations. Once the investigation is complete, we will take appropriate responsive action.”
The incident is said to be a sexual encounter between two intoxicated castmembers (Bachelor blogger Reality Steve initially named the contestants, but later deleted the tweets after media coverage indicated that a crime may have been committed). All of the castmembers have since been sent home, with most arriving back in the U.S. by Monday. Charges have not been filed and neither of the two alleged castmembers involved have spoken publicly.
Since the news broke Sunday, many unverified details have been published. Given the serious nature of the ongoing investigation, Harrison warned against “competing details” and stressed patience.
“Let me start by saying the safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us,” he continued. “It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming. An investigation into the situation was started immediately. Warner Bros. is handling the details of that investigation. They’re moving quickly to gather all the facts, and once that’s done a clear concise decision can be made about where we go from here.”
He continued, “There are a lot of competing details in the various press accounts of the incident. And there’s a lot of misinformation out there, too. We urge everyone to be patient until the investigation is complete.”
The incident reportedly occurred during the first day of production, though a source says filming was not stopped immediately. Filming continued for a short period of time until the cast was told to pack their bags and that they “might” return.
“I know in this day and age we want and even expect immediate answers, but in this case it’s just not possible,” said Harrison. “So again I urge you to please be patient and respect the privacy of the parties involved. I will keep you as informed and up-to-date as I possibly can. We’re sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment this may have caused the cast, the crew and our loyal fans. It is my sincere hope that we can come to a quick resolution on this and get back to work very soon.”
Though a production source tells The Hollywood Reporter no official decision has yet been made on whether the season will be canceled, the chances of the show picking back up are looking slim. This is the first time production has been halted on a series under the ABC Bachelor franchise umbrella, aside from delays due to weather and location changes.
Mike Fleiss, the creator and executive producer of the Bachelor franchise, broke his silence on Wednesday with a short tweet: “We love you, #BachelorNation.” (As of Wednesday, the fate of the show remains up in the air, but looks unlikely.)
Bachelor in Paradise reunites former castoffs of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette in hopes they find love with other stars of the franchise. ABC had announced the first round of its revolving cast last week, with additional familiar faces poised to join later in the season, and many had taken to social media by Monday afternoon to express their heartbreak. Though it was unclear whether the castmembers were referring to the incident that allegedly occurred, or to the prospect of the show being canceled.
Contestant Lacey Mark echoed Harrison’s plea on Tuesday, taking to Twitter to say, “This is a very sad situation for all involved and we should respect everyone’s privacy.” Wells Adams, who was a contestant on last season’s Bachelor in Paradise and returned this cycle as the bartender, said in part, “I’d ask before you pass any judgment or say hurtful things to anyone about this, you remember that there is a lot unknown and untold.”
Last year’s cycle ended with three engagements, though only one couple, Carly Waddell and Evan Bass, is still set to walk down the aisle. Waddell and Bass’ nuptials were set to air during the summer Bachelor in Paradise season. It’s unclear how ABC will handle televising the nuptials if the season is nixed.
The fourth cycle of Bachelor in Paradise is slated to air Aug. 8 on ABC.
June 14, 12:10 p.m. ET: Updated with Fleiss comment.
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