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'Bachelor in Paradise' producer discusses talks with cast about alcohol and consent

The first fight on “Bachelor in Paradise” after production resumed was between the cast and producers.

Even though issues related to impairment from alcohol consumption and consent between contestants were at the center of the production shutdown of the ABC reality show in June, the cast fought back against new rules limiting their drinking — and those discussions will be part of the new season, which returns Monday.

The cast was sent home when “allegations of misconduct” were reported to Warner Horizon, which produces the show.

“While there were allegations, there was a very detailed investigation with Warner Bros. that resulted in the understanding that there was no wrongdoing that occurred,” said ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey during her presentation at the Television Critics Assn. press tour on Sunday.

Yet, she said, what happened on location was “a little bit of a wake-up call to really make sure that we have all of the right processes in place.”

Those processes led to conflict with the contestants when they returned to the Playa Escondida resort in Sayulita, Mexico, where alcohol had previously flowed unabated.

“They were quite upset when we initially wanted them to have very little [to] drink. They were like, ‘Absolutely not. That’s not fair,’ and rightfully so,” said Martin Hilton, executive producer of “The Bachelor” franchise, who added, “that’s also what summer fun in paradise is.”

The pushback came during an “open conversation” with the returning cast about new rules governing consent “and really everything about what leads up to consent, including drinking,” he said. “The question was figuring out: How much, and where’s our line and what’s responsible?”

Those questions “really have to do with evaluating what is right for safety for cast and for crew,” according to Hilton. “Even the perceived issue that something could have happened, is enough for us to really be proactive and look at how we make the show and adjust it.”

“It’s not just about the show policing them, but it’s really about personal responsibility on their part in terms of not only drinking but their behavior in general and how they relate to one another,” Hilton said, noting the cast should play a key role in governing their own behavior.

But there was an alcohol limit imposed during production, though it isn’t a permanent rule. “It’s trial and error. I’m not sure — I can’t say it’s really the right one,” Hilton said, adding that in the future, “we may actually decide to have them drink more or less.” For the rest of Season 4, however, “it seemed to work out fine, and there were no issues.”

‘Bachelor in Paradise’

Where: ABC

When: Monday, 8 p.m.

Rating: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for coarse language, suggestive dialogue and sexual content)


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