The Bachelor spinoff The Proposal has barely begun, and it's already coming under scrutiny. Producers were forced to pull the second episode, featuring contestant Michael J. Friday, after allegations of sexual assault were made. The allegations did not identify Friday but did lead the show's producers and ABC to believe they may involve him, so an investigation has been launched and the episode shelved.
Deadline reports that, in a lengthy Facebook post, Milwaukee resident Erica Denae Meshke made detailed allegations of a sexual assault she claimed was facilitated by a contestant slated to appear on The Proposal. Meshke said that the assault happened in November 2017 in Milwaukee.
Meshke explained that she has been dealing with trauma stemming from the assault, but she was compelled to tell her story after allegedly seeing the man's face in the lineup of male contestants appearing on The Proposal.
"This post may be a direct result of that initial shock, sleep deprivation, depression, or a combination of all three — but after seeing his face again, I’ve finally had it. I’ve seen too many women taken advantage of, especially in the Milwaukee scene," she wrote, implying that this may not be the first time the man in question has been involved in a sexual assault. "I’m telling my story for me, and I’m telling my story for them. The most effective way of stopping these predators is by talking about it."
Friday has not released a statement, nor has ABC released any updates on the investigation. It is also not known if ABC intends to air Friday's episode later.
This is the second time in mere weeks that a male contestant associated with an ABC show has faced serious allegations. On June 13, People magazine reported that Bachelorette contestant Lincoln Adim (who is still competing on the show) was convicted of indecent assault and battery just days before The Bachelorette premiered on May 28. News of Adim's conviction came out after filming on the season had wrapped, so ABC was unable to react during filming as the network is doing in this case.