Talk about a he said-she said!
The host of The Bachelor is firing back at Rozlyn Papa, telling PEOPLE there is no doubt she and a show producer engaged in a physical relationship that got them both kicked off the show in an awkward scene that unfolded on Monday’s episode.
Despite Papa’s insistence that she and the producer are just “good friends,” Chris Harrison tells PEOPLE the two were caught by other contestants and that the staffer admitted to the hook-up.
“She had a physical relationship with a producer on our show,” says Harrison. “You cannot do that. There is no gray area … Other girls on the show saw it. The producer confessed more than once and to more than one person. I cannot make it any clearer.”
On Monday Papa denied the accusations, blasting ABC for concocting the story in a ploy for ratings. When asked whether she had an inappropriate relationship with the producer and cheated on this season’s star, Texas-based pilot Jake Pavelka, she replied, “Absolutely not, no.”
But Harrison says there is no question about the turn of events that caused those in charge at the reality show to resort to such drastic measures. “We would never go to the lengths we did and take the steps we did, firing somebody and kicking someone off our show if we thought maybe something might be happening,” he tells PEOPLE. “To think we would take these steps either just in make-believe or even on a hunch and open up ourselves legally like we have is just preposterous.”
In addition, he says the rest of The Bachelor staff felt betrayed by the producer’s actions. “This was a friend of ours and a member of our family,” he says of the staffer. “A lot of feelings were hurt; were upset. … I never witnessed anything like it onscreen or off.”
Concerning reports that a scandal ousting Papa may have been a way for the show to dismiss her because she wouldn’t hide the fact she had a son from Jake, Harrison says, “We were five days in to taping. We weren’t worried about her telling Jake she had a son because she had plenty of time because she was one of the front-runners. But the fact that she was a mom, not a mom, whatever, had nothing to do with the fact that she had a relationship with one of our producers and had to be kicked off the show, period.”
Producers for the ABC show released a statement, standing by the decision to boot Papa and the staff member: “The Bachelor is about finding love … for the Bachelor,” they said. “We regret this situation occurred and took immediate action to protect Jake, the other participants and the show’s mission.” –Catherine Donaldson-Evans with reporting by Cynthia WangJPI; ABC