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Well, Bachelor Nation. Hannah Brown's wild season of The Bachelorette is finally over and not only did she get engaged, but she then had to break up with fiancé Jed Wyatt once they finished filming and she found out about the rumors that he had a girlfriend the whole time they were on the show. When confronted with Hannah's concerns, Jed was not able to convince her that the situation was blown out of proportion, so Hannah took off that ring, and eventually said (basically) she'd rather be single than commit to a relationship with a liar.
Now, though, there are still two pretty big questions floating around in the minds of those who watched Hannah fall for Jed this season: How did a guy with a girlfriend (who just went on the show to further his music career) get past the casting process, and will Bachelor franchise producers change how they do things to prevent situations like this in the future? ABC executive Rob Mills spoke to the casting issue, and some might not like his answer.
Look, you can only take people for their word. The first question is obviously, ‘Are you single?’ I guess only an idiot would say no. The question is how hard do you push? With some people, you can tell that they’re being deceitful and then you don’t cast them, but for the most part, they’re sincere. One of the things that we do is put pictures out of the cast, so it was common knowledge, if you follow the show, that Jed was going to be on the show. She [Jed’s ex-girlfriend] waited an awful long time to come forward, so clearly, this girl believes that she went along with a plan with Jed where he said to her that he was going on the show, but they would still be together because he was going on to promote his music.
Oooh, see? I knew you wouldn't like that. As Rob Mills told Variety, they, of course, always ask potential suitors and leads in every franchise whether or not they're single at the beginning of the casting process. The problem then becomes if the person vetting them believes their answer and decides to let that person move forward. If you answer that question with a firm "No," and seem sincere (like Jed did), then you'll be allowed to stay in the running.
In this day and age, pretty much everyone puts everything they do online, and the producers who decide on leads and contestants know this. So, Mills was also able to confirm that they do check the social media accounts of potential suitors, as well as eventually talking to their family and friends to confirm details of their lives. And, in each case, Jed came up clean and appeared to be free of any romantic attachments.
Of course, as Mills said, Jed's girlfriend was in on the idea of him just doing The Bachelorette to promote his music, so it makes sense that there were no online clues to his true status. And, based on that hometown visit that Hannah took to see Jed's family, it would seem they also thought the same thing, so that would leave out any of them being interviewed by Bachelorette producers and blurting out, "Jed's got a girlfriend!"
When it comes to the question of how this particular incident will change the casting process from now on, Rob Mills seems to think it will be best to use Jed as a cautionary tale.
If anybody has some red flags during casting, we’ll probably now say, 'Look at Jed. This didn’t end well.' You can’t commit a perfect crime. You can’t really get away with this stuff, especially now. But look, we have had similar situations before, but I don’t think we’ve ever really had it with somebody who wins.
There have been several contestants, just in the past few Bachelorette seasons, who have been found to either have joined the show while still having a girlfriend or who have been accused (like another of Hannah's suitors, Peter Weber) of dumping someone just to go on the show. We've also had a few instances of people getting on the show while troubling legal convictions / allegations or talk of very bad behavior still hung over their heads. So, it makes sense that fans would wonder about how the Bachelor franchise can protect leads like Hannah in the future.
As Mills said in his interview, typically, contestants with personal issues that should keep them off of the show either get found out during filming and kicked off before things gets too serious between themselves and the lead, or they get dumped for other reasons and don't end up winning the heart of our beloved Bachelorette or Bachelor. As we can see, Hannah's season was original for many reasons, and, unfortunately, some of them were not good.