The Proposal Contestant Accused of Setting Up a Woman to Be Sexually Assaulted
ABC’s The Proposal is canceling its second-ever episode after serious allegations were leveled against one of its participants
ABC’s latest show The Proposal is canceling its second-ever episode after serious allegations were leveled against one of its participants.
Show contestant Michael J. Friday was accused by a Milwaukee, Wisconsin woman named Erica Denae Meshke of facilitating her sexual assault in early November.
Meshke wrote about her alleged experience in a public Facebook post on Thursday. Initially, she did not name Friday but shared a photo of male contestants from the show and writing one of them “was directly responsible for my date rape.”
She then shared a screenshot of Friday’s Instagram account in the comments section which identified him as the man she was writing about.
Friday did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. On hearing of the allegations, ABC immediately pulled the pre-recorded episode of The Proposal in which Friday appeared in.
In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE, ABC and Warner Horizon Productions said they take the allegations against Friday “very seriously.”
“An allegation has been made against a contestant on next week’s episode of “The Proposal.” While the accusation was not related to the contestant’s appearance on the program, we take it very seriously,” the statement read.
“ABC and the producers of “The Proposal” are pulling the episode while this matter is under review,” it continued, adding that Friday had been eliminated in the first round of the show.
In her allegations, Meshke described the night she was allegedly sexually assaulted and why she was going public with her story.
“After keeping this buried for nearly eight months, and seeing this man continue to succeed and not be held accountable for his actions, I’ve had enough,” Meshke wrote. “I’ve lost sleep, relationships, self esteem [sic], trust and countless other things because of that night. And I’m done keeping it quiet.”
She did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Meshke explained she met Friday in early November after they connected on Tinder and set up a date to meet. She requested they get together in a “public place” and he invited her to the “lobby/entertainment room” located at an apartment complex.
She wrote that when she arrived she was met by Friday and two older men in their 50s who he called “friends.”
“They poured me a drink, and then I was left alone with the two older men,” Meshke wrote. “The original guy never came back, despite me calling and texting. I was told by his friends that he would be back soon. So while I waited, I accepted another drink, which I know now was spiked.”
Meshke described what took place next, writing she was led to an apartment in the building by one of the men. While she didn’t include graphic details of her alleged assault, Meshke did write, “the things I endured for the next 5 hours were unspeakable.”
“I was threatened afterwards, and told that he was very “powerful” and would “find me” if I told anyone what he did,” Meshke wrote of the unnamed man who she claimed assaulted her.
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Despite the threat, Meshke did confess the alleged assault to close friends and “posted a warning about this man anonymously in a Facebook group.”
“I ran into this person once since at a bar and confronted him, after he attempted to buy me a drink,” she wrote, referring to Friday.
“Once I reminded him of who I was, he acknowledged his part in that evening, and tried to argue with me and justify what he did, but was promptly asked to leave the bar by employees/my friends,” she wrote.
“This man is the pretty face that is used as a lure to get girls into unsafe situations,” Meshke added.
The Proposal is a new series created by the masterminds behind the Bachelor franchise in which a bachelor or bachelorette is hidden from view while being introduced to 10 people vying for their love. Daters, of which Friday was one, are eliminated each round until the highly anticipated reveal, in which the final two meet and can “present a romantic proposal of their choice.”
The cancelation comes the same week after it was revealed Bachelorette suitor Lincoln Adim was convicted of indecent assault and battery for groping a woman on a cruise. The guilty verdict came on May 21, just days before the season premiered.
Adim also allegedly did not disclose the charges to Warner Bros, the studio which produces the ABC reality show, at the time of his casting.
“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,” the studio said in a statement.