The recent Bachelor in Paradise sex scandal rocked the franchise, setting new guidelines in place for seasons to come — but just how much did those rules and regulations change the game?
For the uninitiated, the Bachelor/ette spin-off has placed alums in an elaborate game of romantic musical chairs in Mexico every summer since 2014. This season, however, things took a sharp turn after a sexual encounter occurred between Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, both of whom had been drinking heavily all day. Warner Bros. subsequently suspended production on the show and launched an internal investigation into “allegations of misconduct,” which was later cleared after they deemed nothing improper had occurred. Production soon resumed — this time without Olympios and Jackson. (For more on the scandal and its aftermath, here’s everything you need to know.)
In the wake of the scandal, Warner Bros. announced that they would be implementing “certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.”
A source close to production confirmed to PEOPLE that “in broad strokes, changes were made to ensure everyone’s safety” — particularly in regard to alcohol consumption and consent. It has since been confirmed that a two-drink maximum per hour was imposed upon the cast.
On Monday, PEOPLE caught up with a few of this season’s contestants at a Bachelor In Paradise viewing party in Hollywood, and they weighed in on the new rule.
“We had our own little ways to get around it,” said Robby Hayes at the party, which was hosted by TCL, a TV brand. “If it was two drinks an hour, we’d grab one at 3:50, one at 3:55, then [it was a] new hour at 4:00. We’d grab one at 4:00, and one at 4:05, then you have four drinks within 15 minutes.”
(ABC/Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)
Jasmine Goode told PEOPLE that the two-drink minimum didn’t impact their experience nearly as much as they thought it would.
“The new rules — it’s funny,” she said. “People think like, ‘Two drinks, oh my God, that’s not enough.’ Because that’s what we all thought. We thought ‘Two drinks, that’s not going to be enough to have fun’ or whatever. But honestly, you forget. You first start thinking, ‘Oh wait, I had two drinks — let me get my other drink.’ So you start to actually get drunk faster, I would think. But it was fine.”
“The new rules were hilarious — I kind of expected it,” said Danielle Lombard, a Bachelor alum from Nick Viall‘s season who arrived in Paradise on Monday night’s episode. “It’s just precautions that they had to put in place. It’s a very grey line when it comes to consent and drinking. Whatever they had to do to bring Paradise back — I was just happy to go.”
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Hayes, 28, also offered his opinion on the way the scandal was communicated to viewers, explaining that he felt it was done in the right way. (Across last week’s two-night premiere, longtime host Chris Harrison addressed the situation and sat down with the cast in Mexico to go over the scandal at length.)
“I think Chris sitting us down and talking about consent, talking about what consent means, what drinking is involved on the show, was good,” said Hayes. “It’s no secret that ABC, Warner Bros. and NZK Productions all took that situation by the horns and didn’t hide anything. They put it all on TV: this is what happened, this is what we did to get over it.”
“They let it be known that there was a break [in filming],” he added. “They let it be known that Dean [Unglert] went home with Kristina [Schulman] during that break, that these relationships continue to grow. That break was a part of this show. So was the issue at hand. So they took the bull by the horns, confronted it, solved it. Against all odds, we went back out and filmed and finished this thing. I didn’t think we would.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.