At the Men Tell All last night, one semi-important contestant was missing. Lincoln Adim, a burly accented suitor who once called Arie Luyendyk Jr. a "wanker," wasn't there. Other men didn't attend — Mike Renner, a long haired sports commentator, stayed home, as did Clay Harbor, a professional football player. But Adim's absence was purposeful, at least on ABC's part. In June, news broke that Adim, 26, had been convicted of indecent assault and battery.
"Lincoln was not invited and not welcome here," Chris Harrison told Glamour in a post-show interview. "What he did was illegal and against the law, so that is a very easy call."
When The Hollywood Reporter — with some help from former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey — reported that a Suffolk County court had declared Adim guilty for a 2016 groping incident on a cruise, Warner Bros denied knowledge of Adim's past.
"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 been charged with any sexual misconduct," the production company said in a statement. All contestants who go on the show undergo background checks, and this charge was still pending when Adim joined the show. The laws differ state-to-state in regard to background checks and pending charges, and it seems Adim's charge might have flown under the radar. Rob Mills, head of ABC alternative programming, said on the Bachelor Party podcast that background checkers might have missed the charges because the case was sealed. He also speculated that the background check would miss this charge because the incident occurred on a cruise ship, not where Lincoln lived.
Regardless, as of May 21, Lincoln Adim was a convicted sex offender, and as of June 13, all of America knew about it. After Warner Bros. released a statement, the show continued largely pro forma. No one interrupted the broadcast to apologize. Becca Kufrin didn't make a statement. Adim himself hasn't made a statement. Some fans suggested that ABC should edit Adim from the remaining footage of the show — following the reports of his conviction, audiences still had to watch Adim court Kufrin. In one episode, Adim told the other contestants that he believed the Earth is flat. In another, he fought with contestant Chris Randone. All action per usual for The Bachelorette.
Then, at the "Men Tell All," Adim was just... not there. ABC and Warner Bros chose to deploy the easiest and sometimes most effective PR tactic: They ignored that Lincoln Adim happened at all. The "Men Tell All" was spent engaging in debates about virginity, car size, and how much fun one can have inside a cardboard box. (Jordan Kimball, the season's best distraction device, claimed he can have a great time in a cardboard box.) Producers kept the evening snarl-free, even as the show entered strange territories regarding the word "pussy."
Speaking to Glamour about the event, Kufrin herself tip-toed around the subject. "I never felt unsafe. He always treated me with respect. So, yeah," Kufrin said, opting for reticence.
On Twitter Monday night, contestant Ashley Spivey — who worked with blogger Reality Steve to break the news about Adim — wondered aloud if any of the contestants in attendance would comment on the controversy. In response, Colton Underwood wrote, "Lincoln lied to all of us & played everyone. End of story. He shouldn't get anymore attention. What he did was wrong and illegal." Spivey later shared a response from Mike Renner, who did not attend the taping. (Renner is a sports analyst for Pro Football Focus.)
His response: "They put Becca in a sit/ [sic] where she was dating a man on trial for sexual assault. They made 20men share a living quarters w someone that turned out to be a sex offender. To act like one of the biggest lightning rods on the show didn't exist just to cover up their mistake is absurd." Contestant Connor Obrochta also shared his thoughts on Adim weeks ago to TMZ, advising that Adim be omitted from the "Men Tell All" proceedings.
Ironically, it was the contestants — a few of them, at least — who ended up commenting on Adim. That's the good news. The show itself pretended Adim didn't happen, acknowledging its mistake only in a single statement. The Bachelorette threw Lincoln Adim out a window and looked the other way, when it might have behooved the show to at least address his presence. In the future, though, when the twentysomething contestants are old enough to lead their own reality shows, maybe this won't happen. And, if it does, maybe we'll hear an apology.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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