Evan Bass, who met and proposed to his fiancé Carly Waddell on last season of Bachelor in Paradise, has made a plea for the show not to be canceled amid allegations of "misconduct."
Season four had barely begun filming when Warner Bros. shut the production down in Mexico, sent the cast home and launched an investigation into allegations of "misconduct" stemming from an internal complaint a producer had made over a sexual interaction between cast members Corinne Olympiosand DeMario Jackson, saying they did not know if she was able to consent to it.
In wake of the scandal, cancellation rumors have mounted. ABC and Warner Bros. have denied that Bachelor in Paradise has been axed, Variety reported Tuesday.
"When the news about Paradise production broke the internet, it also broke my heart," Bass wrote in a guest column posted in The Hollywood Reporter Saturday. "While to some it's a silly TV show, for me, it was an experience that changed my life in unimaginable ways. 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."
"Let me reiterate by saying that I do not want to downplay the seriousness of this very difficult situation. My heart goes out to Corinne and everyone negatively affected by this. I pray for peace and healing to begin and personal growth for all," he said. "And Paradise must come back, if not this season, then next season."
Bass said the "Bachelor shows are important to millions" and are a "beautiful juxtaposition of parody and melodrama that illuminate on our own lives." He also said they highlight "important topics the public wrestles with."
"This 'scandal' has had the unintended consequence of bringing the discussion about 'consent' to the forefront of people's minds," he wrote. "Frankly, although the circumstances suck and no one wishes harm on anyone, the learning edge of this has been powerful. We all want healthy relationships and to be treated with respect."
Olympios has said she is a "victim" and doesn't remember much from the night the alleged sexual incident took place, while Jackson has denied any wrongdoing. Sources had told E! News that the producer who filed the internal complaint was not present when the encounter occurred, has not viewed footage of the encounter and only heard about it second-hand.
DeMario Jackson's lawyer Walter Mosley told Variety Friday he and the Bachelor in Paradise star "don't fear any criminal investigation" stemming from the allegations and that he "hopes to see the tapes next week," adding, "The tapes are the real facts needed to vindicate DeMario's name."
Multiple sources told E! News this week that despite the scandal, Bass and Waddell are still set to have their wedding filmed for ABC this weekend. The footage was initially intended to air as part of the new season, which was slated to premiere on Aug. 8.