Ben Higgins addresses 'Bachelor in Paradise' controversy, says he was never 'forced into anything'


Ben Higgins speaks out in defense of Bachelor nation.

News broke earlier this week that Bachelor in Paradise had suspended filming following "allegations of misconduct" that allegedly took place between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios. A source told ET that prior to the alleged incident, some of the show's producers were encouraging the cast mates to get together.

Higgins -- who served as the Bachelortwo seasons ago and was a contestant on The Bachelorette -- recalled his experience working with producers on Bachelor in Paradise's sister shows, claiming that he never felt pressure to do anything he didn't want to do.

"I was never forced into anything. 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," the 29-year-old reality star said during his iHeartRadio podcast, Almost Famous, with Bachelor nation alum, Ashley Iaconetti. "Yes, there is producing that is done. It's a show! There are situations that happen that they need to get something out of, but it's never a forced situation."

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Higgins -- who recently called off his engagement to Lauren Bushnell after proposing to her on The Bachelor -- further insisted that the reality show producers do not curate situations ahead of filming. "The storyline makes itself up each and every day during the process of filming The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise," he noted.

Bachelor in Paradise host Chris Harrison also defended the show in a statement to ET, and was hopeful that filming would resume. "The safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us. It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming," he stated. "It is my sincere hope that we can come to a quick resolution on this and get back to work very soon."

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Following the alleged incident, Jackson praised Olympios when cameras caught up with him outside a Starbucks in Los Angeles. "You know, Corinne's an awesome girl and that's all I have to say," he said in a video exclusive to ET.

A source close to Jackson also told ET that the reality star believes that he'll be vindicated by the show footage. "He's definitely said a few times that based on his conversations with other cast mates who were there, they never felt like it was to the level it's being portrayed," the source explained. "DeMario feels the footage [from the show] will back up his side."