‘Bachelor’ Ben Higgins defends franchise

Ben Higgins is speaking out about life inside the the “Bachelor” franchise.

Higgins and former “Bachelor” contestant Ashley Iaconetti spoke about their experiences on the show and addressed the “Bachelor in Paradise” controversy on a special edition of “The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast.”

Warner Bros., the production company behind “Bachelor in Paradise,” recently halted filming on Season 4 amid allegations of misconduct. (CNN and Warner Bros. share the parent company Time Warner.)

While Warner Bros. has not released details of exactly what happened, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN that a male and female contestant were filmed engaging in sexual acts on the first day of production.

The series features alumni from “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” The contestants live together at a beach house, “hoping to turn a potential summer fling into the real thing.”

Iaconetti, who appeared on a previous season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” said fans have been asking her about what may have happened with the current cast.

She and Higgins said they didn’t know but wanted to share their experiences.

Higgins, who was a contestant on the eleventh season of “The Bachelorette” before he was cast as the Season 20 “Bachelor,” said he considers many of the participants in the franchise and the crew to be his friends.

Both he and Iaconetti said viewers may have preconceived notions about franchise, but Higgins said he was never forced to do anything by the show’s producers.

“I was talked through as a friend in situations,” he said. “If I was confused, they would sit with me and allow me to speak my mind and help me.”

“Yes, there is producing that is done. It’s a show,” Higgins added. “There are situations that happen that they need to get something out of, but it’s never a forced situation.”

Higgins said the participants are human and “people make mistakes.”

“Did somebody make a mistake?” Higgins asked. “Did a producer make a mistake? Were things taken too far? I don’t know, but if it did you have to understand that they were just trying to portray a storyline that was existing in front of them.”

Iaconetti said she was part of a message thread over the weekend that included current contestants and alumni.

“Nobody knew what was going on really,” she said. “Even the cast that was there, they’re unclear as to really what necessarily was going on.”

“Bachelor in Paradise” was scheduled to return to ABC in August. Neither Warner Bros. nor ABC has said whether the series will continue.