While production for Bachelor in Paradise has officially been suspended due to an investigation into allegations of misconduct, Bachelor alums are speaking out about what really goes down during filming.
“Before I even put any responsibility on the film crew or production, all of us cast members have a choice of how we want to behave, how far we’ll go, how much we drink, etc.,” previous Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Tenley Molzahn exclusively tells PEOPLE. “We sign a lot of legal stuff acknowledging that we know we have these choices. We also know that we will be on camera at all times, even when a film crew is not around.”
On Sunday, PEOPLE sources confirmed production had been halted after a producer raised concerns about an alleged sexual encounter between contestant DeMario Jackson, 30, and a female cast mate, both of whom had reportedly been drinking heavily all day. (Thus far, no legal action has been taken, and neither cast member had spoken out about what happened.)
“[Alcohol] was always available but it definitely was never forced on us,” BiP season 3 alum Ryan Beckett recently told PEOPLE.
- For more on Bachelor in Paradise, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
“I was shocked,” Beckett said of his reaction to the suspension news. “I would not imagine that a number of producers would stand idly by. Like, I would expect two drunk contestants to do something stupid, but it would be surprising to me that something nefarious was going on and it was allowed to go on.”
In addition, BiP alum Daniel Maguire, who finds the incident “a little hard to believe,” says all contestants are fully aware of what they’re getting into before filming begins.
“We’re all responsible for our own actions,”says Maguire, who will be featured on Celebrity Family Feud later this summer. “If we were kids or young adults or teenagers we could be more easily persuaded but from my experience obviously the producers are there to help people interact with each other and ask questions but in no way are they there to tell you what to do and to behave certain ways.”
Leah Block, who was featured on Ben Higgins‘ season of The Bachelor and BiP last summer, had a different experience.
“Some people have really great experiences and it’s going to be different for everyone,” Block says. “But in my situation, I definitely felt like I was being pushed to do things and pushed to say things. It definitely didn’t get out of hand, but more so my edit was not what actually happened and that was totally out of my control. So they definitely set things up to make sure things the way they want it to”
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On Tuesday, longtime host of the franchise Chris Harrison addressed the scandal.
“Let me start by saying 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 said. “An investigation into the situation was started immediately. Warner Bros. is handling the details of that investigation. They’re moving quickly to gather all the facts, and once that’s done, a clear, concise decision can be made about where we go from here.”
As for the fate of Paradise? A source previously told PEOPLE that the show will not be resuming this summer.
“It’s just an internal investigation,” said the source. “There are no authorities involved, no law enforcement but the incident was flagged internally and they take these matters seriously.”
“It’s unfortunate what this season has brought to the Bachelor franchise,” Bachelor alum Marcus Grodd says. “It’s a shame the cast took this season away from viewers and put hardworking people in jeopardy.”