Ben Higgins says 'it's time' for change after 'Bachelorette' contestant controversies (Exclusive)

Ben Higgins would like to see a better vetting process for contestants on The Bachelorette. 

During an interview with ET's Lauren Zima on Monday, the former Bachelor opened up about recent controversies involving men on Becca Kufrin's season, encouraging producers and those involved in the casting process to "dig in a little bit more" before putting someone on the show. 

"You learn from your mistakes. I think now it's time for -- and I'm sure they will -- the production company to say, 'Let's dig in a little bit more on who we're putting on the show.' You don't want this stuff to continue to pop up. I don't think it's fun for the show to have to deal with [these scandals]," Higgins shares. "I do think it's time for them to change their ways, but I don't know if they even expected this would be the case."

So far, two contestants on Kufrin's season have been engulfed in controversy. First, one of her frontrunners, Garrett Yrigoyen was accused of liking Instagram posts which mock transgender people, feminists, immigrants and Parkland shooting survivors. He admitted responsibility for the behavior, and apologized on his new Instagram account, explaining that the likes were not "a true reflection of me and my morals." 

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell discuss 'The Bachelor' at AOL Studios in New York on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell discuss 'The Bachelor' at AOL Studios in New York on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: The Bachelors(R_L) Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins are seen on 'Good Morning America' on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell visit ABC's 'Live with Kelly and Michael' on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: The Bachelors Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins are seen on 'Good Morning America' on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: The Bachelors Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins are seen on 'Good Morning America' on March 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 17: 'Bachelor' Ben Higgins (L) and fiancee Lauren Bushnell visit 'The Lion King' on Broadway at Minskoff Theatre on March 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MARCH 18: The Bachelor's Ben Higgins and fiance Lauren Bushnell seen at the Today Show on March 18, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 30: TV personalities Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell attend the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 30: (L-R) TV personalities Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell speak onstage during the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - Freeform's 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?' stars Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins. (Vu Ong/FreeForm via Getty Images)
THE BACHELORETTE - 'After the Final Rose'- Emotions run high as JoJo sits down with Chris Harrison, live, to talk about her two final bachelors from this season - Jordan and Robby. She takes viewers back to those final days in exotic Phuket, Thailand, when she needed to make her life-changing decision. Both men return to sit with JoJo and discuss the shocking outcome of the show and their relationships. It's the unpredictable ending to JoJo's adventure to find true love on 'The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose,' MONDAY, AUGUST 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT). (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images) BEN HIGGINS, LAUREN BUSHNELL
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - 'An Offer We Can't Refuse?' - After an uncomfortable lunch date with Ben's ex JoJo and her new fianc�Jordan, Ben and Lauren head back to Denver and begin to discover new things about each other, for better or worse, in an all-new episode of Freeform's original series 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,' airing TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform. (Greg Zabilski/Freeform via Getty Images) JOJO FLETCHER, JORDAN RODGERS, BEN HIGGINS, LAUREN BUSHNELL
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - Freeform's 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?' stars Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell. (Vu Ong/FreeForm via Getty Images)
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - 'An Offer We Can't Refuse?' - After an uncomfortable lunch date with Ben's ex JoJo and her new fianc�Jordan, Ben and Lauren head back to Denver and begin to discover new things about each other, for better or worse, in an all-new episode of Freeform's original series 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,' airing TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform. (Adam Larkey/Freeform via Getty Images) BEN HIGGINS, LAUREN BUSHNELL
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - 'Chad to the Bone' - Ben and Lauren head to the woods for a camping trip with some former Bachelor contestants, but all hell breaks loose when villain Chad shows up and threatens to ruin everything, in an all-new episode of Freeform's original series 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,' airing TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform. (Adam Larkey/Freeform via Getty Images) LAUREN BUSHNELL, BEN HIGGINS
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - 'A House Divided' - After living in close quarters, Ben and Lauren decide to look at new houses and struggle to find a compromise, causing both to evaluate their current career plans and explore new options, in an all-new episode of Freeform's original series 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,' airing TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform. (Josh Vertucci/Freeform via Getty Images) BEN HIGGINS, LAUREN BUSHNELL
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell from Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? enjoy a magical day at Disneyland. (Richard Harbaugh/ABC via Getty Images) LAUREN BUSHNELL, BEN HIGGINS
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - 'Relationship Retreat' - Ben and Lauren go to couples counseling with Grant, Lace and the twins - Emily and Haley - all in good fun until Ben drops a bombshell; then Ben and Lauren decide to go on a road trip to spend time together processing where they are at in their relationship, in a two-hour event of Freeform's original series 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,' airing TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on Freeform. (Rick Rowell/Freeform via Getty Images) ED SHEVICK, FLORENCE 'TOOTS' SHEVICK, LAUREN BUSHNELL, BEN HIGGINS
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23: TV personalities Lauren Bushnell (L) and Ben Higgins attend the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23: TV personalities Ben Higgins (L) and Lauren Bushnell attend the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 24: Television personalities Ben Higgins (L) and Lauren Bushnell speak during the 2016 Daytime Village at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the Las Vegas Village on September 24, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - What a Difference a Year Makes - To celebrate their anniversary, Ben and Lauren decide to give back and focus on someone in need by pulling off a surprise home makeover renovation, in an all-new episode of Freeforms original series Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, airing TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on Freeform. (Josh Vertucci/Freeform via Getty Images) BEN HIGGINS, LAUREN BUSHNELL
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? - 'What Happens in Vegas...' - The couple arrives for their bachelor/bachelorette parties in Las Vegas, but things are a little uncomfortable as no one knows where Ben and Lauren's relationship lies, on the season finale of Freeform's original series 'Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,' airing TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on Freeform. (Ronda Churchill/Freeform via Getty Images) BEN HIGGINS, LAUREN BUSHNELL
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins attend The Knot Gala 2016 at New York Public Library on October 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: Lauren Bushnell (L) and Ben Higgins visit 'Extra' at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on October 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
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Then, ET learned that another contestant, Lincoln Adim, was convicted of indecent assault and battery for groping and assaulting a woman on a harbor cruise ship in Boston last May. Warner Bros., the studio behind the Bachelor franchise, told ET that they were investigating why the incident didn't appear on his background check. 

In Higgins' mind, contestants are responsible for their behavior before, during and after the show. "Everything you do is pretty much documented, and who you are in the public eye, no matter if you're a celebrity [or not]... people are watching," he says.

"I think even one person watching Garrett's social media account from 10 years ago when nobody really knew him would've seen the things he was liking and go, 'This is the character that I think Garrett is.' So I don't know if I agree if he doesn't want his social media to define him," he continues. "It already does. That's what social media is."

In fact, Higgins says, "If I was Becca and I had the Garrett situation and it was released while I was [filming] the show, and I [found out about it] ... it would definitely play a role in who I chose, 100 percent." The contestants competing for Higgins' heart on his season of The Bachelor definitely didn't cause this level of controversy, but he admitted to looking them up before making his choice on his final three. 

Higgins revealed he was able to get a hold of an iPad ahead of Lauren Bushnell's hometown date, where he looked up the women left in the running. "All of them were great on Instagram, on social media, there was no drama, but it did affect the way I viewed them afterwards, because I knew more about them," he reveals. 

As for how Kufrin -- who appeared to defend Garrett in an interview with ET -- should handle the drama, Higgins advised that she "be honest."

"I'm sure she has opinions and she should share them," he says. "My judgment now on a good lead is not just about how likable they are... it's about how they react to really tough situations." 

"Becca has to react to a lot of people's mistakes, respond, and be the voice for a lot of people, including herself. So how she'll handle it is, I think, how I will judge if she's a good Bachelorette," he adds.

While Higgins was kind enough to offer his insight into Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette, these days, he's focused on other endeavors, like his coffee company, Generous Coffee, which has only grown over the last few months. 

"It's great. It's been a ton of fun," he tells ET. "We have partnered with a couple of companies out there, [like] Thursday Boots."

"Generous is expanding and growing and now we are able to really affect life change in a positive way, so it's been fun," Higgins shares. "And here's the thing: now we deliver straight to your door! So if you want coffee delivered straight to your door, go to generousmovement.com."

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