The Bachelorette franchise is known for casting archetypal contestants—it's part of how the show has maintained its devoted audience for so many years. Amid the group of dreamy grooms-to-be there are always a few recognizable character types: the villain, the exhibitionist, "the odd one."
Contestant Lincoln Adim may not last much longer on the show, but he became a hall-of-fame "odd one" on Monday's episode when he started talking about how the earth might be flat. With bachelorette Becca Kufrin off on a one-on-one date with frontrunner and impression rose grantee Garrett Yrigoyen, Adim started to espouse his flat-earth ideologies to the remaining men. His reasons to doubt the planet's roundness included the fact that water does not slide off Earth's surface and that "everything is flat" when you're looking out of an airplane. Lincoln also revealed himself as a gravity truther, telling the men, "Do you know why you can walk and not slip off? Friction,” when they asked him how global travel works.
This made for great reality TV, and also raised some questions that had nothing to do with the curvature of the planet. Did Bachelorette casting know about his beliefs? Were these beliefs part of the reason he was cast? And if they were trying to get him on the show so his flat-earther flag could fly, did they know about the skeletons in his closet?
News surfaced last week that Adim pleaded guilty of indecent assault and battery on May 21, just a week before the current season of the Bachelorette premiered. Since the show is filmed in advance, producers couldn't have known about the conviction, but the charges were filed in 2016, prompting many to wonder how they missed the ongoing case against him.
The conviction was originally reported by the blog Reality Steve with the help of former contestant Ashely Spivey. Adim was sentenced to two years of probation for groping a woman on a cruise ship.
This comes on the tail of HuffPost's exposing contestant Garrett Yrigoyen's Instagram history, which includes liking transphobic, sexist, and bigoted Instagram posts as well as those that promoted violence for undocumented immigrants. One post he liked, from the "the4thamerican" account, promoted the idea that David Hogg, the Parkland student turned gun control activist, was a "crisis actor."
Garrett has since posted an apology on Instagram:
Adim hasn't spoken publicly about his conviction or his flat-eartherism, but ABC has issued the following statement:
No one on The Bachelorette production had any knowledge about the incident or charges when Lincoln Adim was cast, and he himself denied ever having engaged in or having been charged with any sexual misconduct. We employ a well-respected and highly experienced third party who has done thousands of background checks consistent with industry standards to do a nationwide background check in this case. The report we received did not reference any incident or charge relating to the recent conviction — or any other charges relating to sexual misconduct. We are currently investigating why the report did not contain this information, which we will share when we have it.
While ABC has dealt with racist contestants in the past—and has cast them despite their visibly bigoted social media behavior—Adim and Yrigoyen pose a particular problem for The Bachelorette. As Vulture pointed out, these two men aren't supposed to be the season's villains—that role has apparently gone to the ostentatious male model Jordan Kimball—and can't simply be tossed out as such. Whereas racist, sexist Lee Garrett was obviously Rachel Lindsay's season villain, Yrigoyen is shown in numerous season promos at international destinations, confirming his presence at least that far forward.
ABC is now tasked with assuring audiences that this is somehow all OK. When I reached out to the network, a spokesperson responded: "ABC does not comment on production-related inquiries."
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