As Bachelor in Paradise premiered this week, one conversation stood out to some viewers as particularly disturbing, and while it did involve Season 7 contestants Tahzjuan Hawkins and Tre Cooper, it somehow wasn’t Tahz’s comparison of how Cooper kissed vs. how his uncle kissed. (Eesh.) Rather, the controversy centered around a sizable bug — or lack thereof — that drew the ire of Season 6 BiP villain Blake Horstmann.
When Tahzjuan Hawkins and Tre Cooper went off for some alone time, in part to discuss the elephant on the beach — that Hawkins had gone on a date with and kissed Cooper’s uncle prior to the show — Hawkins found herself the victim of the biggest insect in the world. It was buzzing around her head as if it was already part of their conversation, but not all viewers thought the pest was a legitimate one. Former Bachelor in Paradise cast mate Blake Horstmann, most infamously known for Stagecoach-gate, reacted to the offensively large bug on Instagram Stories, calling the show editors’ bluff that the bug actually existed. In his words:
Guys, was this bug edited in? This does not look real. … Guys, that was a computer-generated bug! Rewinding that. They are now editing bugs in this fucking show? Now, I don’t think that’s real, guys. You guys! That is fake! That is a fake bug! They literally edited a computer-generated bug into this show and y’all don’t think they will edit words into our mouths? They put a fucking bug into this show!
Okay, so the bug was like the size of a small hummingbird, as viewers actually could see it flying around Tahzjuan Hawkins’ head from two different angles as a valiant Tre Cooper checked her hair to make sure it hadn’t landed, before “taking care of it,” if you know what I mean. Surely the helicopter-like noises that the insect exuded were exaggerated through sound editing, but could the actual bug itself have been a product of post-production wizardry?
Because this kind of accusation can't possibly go unchecked, Tahzjuan Hawkins addressed Blake Horstmann’s claims on her own Instagram Story, calling Tre Cooper “the real MVP” and rejecting the notion that she would have reacted in such a way if there wasn't a giant bug infringing on her personal bubble.
Can we take a minute to discuss the bug? Bug Gate? Bug debacle? That was a real bug. There was no CGI. At all. I don’t freak out at weird, nonexistent things. Thanks Tre for helping me out. Blake, we gotta get you a new TV.
This wouldn’t be the first time Blake Horstmann has called out Bachelor in Paradise for getting creative in the editing room. Horstmann found himself in hot water during Season 6 when it came to light that he’d slept with two of his castmates on back-to-back nights at Stagecoach prior to their time in Paradise. He even released text messages between Caelynn Miller-Keyes and himself in an attempt to clear his name. (Pro tip: Releasing private conversations with a woman you had sex with is not an effective way to show you’re not a douche.)
But back to the bugs. There’s no question that Paradise is full of insects, crustaceans, and other creepy-crawlies. Co-host David Spade hilariously spoke to that sentiment in the premiere episode, calling the crabs “spiders with good PR.” So is it possible that such a bug did indeed exist, just not in the bird-sized form that viewers saw torpedoing Tahzjuan Hawkins’ head? Where do you fall in the debate? Weigh in below, and be sure to catch Bachelor in Paradise as it moves to twice a week starting August 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC!