Blake Horstmann released private text messages between himself and Caelynn Miller-Keyes following a dramatic episode of Bachelor in Paradise
Dean Unglert is standing by his girlfriend.
“I’ve got a big issue with the text messages,” he said on Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti’s podcast Almost Famous on Tuesday. “What really crossed the line for me … he took private text messages between him and another girl who did not consent to him releasing these text messages and blasted them publicly for his 600,000 followers. Then it got picked up by news outlets, which then gets blasted out to millions more.”
He continued: “Publishing and publicizing private text messages without the consent of the other person, as a public figure, is one of the most disgraceful things I think he could possibly do. I think it’s almost equivalent to sharing someone’s nude [photos].”
“You never enter into a text conversation with anyone ever expecting them to screenshot and advertise them,” he said.
Unglert also accused Horstmann of unfairly selecting which text messages to post.
“He then is going back and picking the specific things he wants to share to prove his truths and paint the story that he wants to paint. That’s really messed up, in my opinion,” he said. “When he’s able to go back and curate exactly what he wants to and paint the picture that he wants to for his audience and for his followers and gain the approval of all of these strangers, he’s able to pick what he wants to say.”
“Now, no matter what Caelynn does next, she’s kind of responding to it, which puts her at a disadvantage,” he said.
Unglert goes as far as to call releasing the messages “slut-shaming.”
“It’s an obvious form of slut-shaming,” he said, referring to the messages in which Miller-Keyes expresses her sexual interest in Horstmann. “Now Caelynn’s parents and her sisters and her friends are going to have to see these messages. Again, it’s nonconsensual from her part.”
Ultimately, Unglert said he believes Horstmann made a mistake.
“There are a million ways that Blake could have gone about sharing his side of the story and the worst way of those million is by sharing those text messages,” he said. “The only reason he’s doing this is to make strangers like him more.”
Miller-Keyes and Horstmann got caught in a love triangle with Kristina Schulman when it came out that Horstmann had slept with them both on back-to-back nights at the Stagecoach festival. During the two-night premiere of Paradise, Miller-Keyes, 24, tearfully told cameras he’d called their night together a “mistake” and begged her to keep the tryst a secret.
As the scenes aired, Horstmann, 30, posted text messages that seemed to debunk her story, suggesting she sought him out for sex and was stressed about people finding out. He deleted the text screenshots later Tuesday night.
“This is the last thing I wanted to do, but my name and character are being attacked. My name is all I really have,” he had said on his Instagram Story. “Most of all, it is the only real way to prove that what is being said by Caelynn and the story that is being shown is far from the truth. I’m deeply sorry for my actions at Stagecoach but telling the world that I silenced a woman amongst many other harmful accusations was just too much.”
On Wednesday, Miller-Keyes spoke out about the incident, taking ownership for her words on the show while clarifying that she and Horstmann had a relationship that went beyond “a one night stand at a music festival.”
“I was upset and I let my emotions control my words,” she wrote on Instagram. “However, I did not go on a show to ruin someone’s character.”
“I attempted to address my feelings and the situation with Blake face to face,” she continued. “It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get the same respect in return, and I am absolutely mortified our private texts were put out there for the world to see and judge by someone who I trusted and consider a friend nonetheless.”
She concluded by saying that the drama between her and Horstmann “is a complicated situation” because it “has taken a life of its own on the internet.”
“This could’ve been over after last night’s episode, but since it’s now all over Instagram, I felt like it was imperative to share my truth,” she said. “We all have our own perception of how different situations unfold and there are many sides to this story. I hope that we can all move forward and support one another, rather than tear each other down.”
Though it has yet to air on the show, multiple sources have told PEOPLE that Miller-Keyes ends her journey in journey ends with a relationship with Unglert, who voiced his support for the pageant queen after Horstmann released the text messages.
“A ‘public figure’ sharing private text messages in an attempt to salvage whatever is left of their fragile ego…” Unglert said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Calling it childish would be disrespectful to children everywhere.”
It’s also worth noting that Unglert got caught flack on Paradise season 4 for his own love triangle with Schulman and Danielle Lombard.
“In the moment of filming, I didn’t realize what an a–hole I was being,” he told PEOPLE in 2017. “Watching it all play back, it makes me realize that I need to change a lot of things about myself before I can actually pursue a relationship. It sucks to come to that realization that what you’ve been doing is just not right. To see how deeply upset Danielle and Kristina both were, it hurt.”
A source recently told PEOPLE that Horstmann is devastated by the drama and only wants the best for Miller-Keyes.
“Putting the text out there was never about hurting Caelynn. He felt like his hands were tied and it was the only way to tell his truth,” the source said. “Blake is such a sweet person. He feels so bad about the hate that she’s getting. It’s not about him against her, he felt like he was just being completely painted in lies.”