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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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.

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"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"


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