Evan Bass, who found love on Bachelor in Paradise with Carly Waddell, is speaking out about the sex scandal that shut down production of the new season of the ABC dating show, saying that the controversy “broke my heart.”
Bass, who proposed to Waddell on the season 3 finale of Bachelor in Paradise last year, wrote an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, June 17, defending the show and begging ABC not the cancel the series.
“While to some it’s a silly TV show, for me, it was an experience that changed my life in unimaginable ways,” the former Bachelorette contestant, who appeared on season 12, wrote. “I am troubled thinking about the allegations happening on my favorite beach, and I’m sad that some couples will not have the opportunity to find love in a powerful and unique way.”
“I can’t help but think about [season-one couple] Jade and Tanner [Tolbert], the fast-approaching birth of their baby and how that beautiful family wouldn’t exist without Paradise. And for me, I will be forever grateful to Paradise for guiding me to an incredible stepmother to my own children.”
As US Weekly previously reported, production of season 4 of the Bachelor and Bachelorette spin-off was shut down last week after allegations of sexual misconduct between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson.
Since returning from Mexico, they have hired lawyers and released public statements about the incident that allegedly took place on the set of the show.
Bass — who is set to marry Waddell this weekend in a celebration that will be telecast on ABC at a later date — wrote that he is “disturbed” by the way the production of the show is being portrayed, and defended the production staff and even host Chris Harrison and Jorge, the show’s bartender, as “truly great men.”
He noted that cast members are never “forced” to drink, but sometimes contestants are asked to stop when they appear to have had too much.
“I’ve talked with several cast members who were on-site, and from their perspectives, this was not anywhere close to what’s being portrayed,” Bass wrote. “The overwhelming theme from the cast is that although these allegations should be taken seriously, the actual events have been blown way out of proportion and that ‘consent’ was not an issue that day or in the days following. Their anger is not so much directed at Corinne but more at the rogue ‘newbie’ producers who manufactured something out of nothing. Now that Corinne has lawyered up, she’s following the natural path of a scandal by protecting herself, as she has every right to do.”
He wrote that he’s glad that all those involved are taking the allegations seriously and added that cast members he’s spoken to say Jackson is “a good guy.”
“I just don’t believe that he thought he was hurting Corinne or that he knew she wasn’t able to give consent,” he continued. “But that’s where all men can learn.”
Bass, who didn’t take sides, wrote in conclusion that he didn’t want to downplay the seriousness of the situation.
“My heart goes out to Corinne and everyone negatively affected by this,” he wrote. “I pray for peace and healing to begin and personal growth for all. And Paradise must come back, if not this season, then next season … I want to watch the next steady Jade and Tanner and also the next roller-coaster relationship like I had. Love always wins, and I trust in Paradise.”