The Bachelor franchise is facing another complaint of sexual harassment, and this time it's not from a contestant.
Becky Steenhoek, a former producer for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has filed a complaint against the shows' production company Warner Bros. Entertainment as well as five producers, who she claims sexually harassed her. While working on the The Bachelorette in 2016, Steenhoek says she was asked a series of questions that were sexual in nature. The questions included whether she'd ever had anal sex, if she enjoyed giving hand jobs, and perhaps most bizarre: "Has a man ever got your 'taco' talking?"
While the franchise could maybe get away with asking contestants these questions, given the semi-sexual nature of the show and the situations they may be put in on camera, it's pretty hard to justify asking them to a producer. Steenhoek says the questions were obviously designed to embarrass her because of her sexual inexperience and conservative, Christian views on sex.
"You could visibly tell it was very uncomfortable to me to witness, just because they did make comments like, 'Oh, Becky's blushing,' or 'Her ears are probably burning,'" Steenhoek told The LA Times. "It was a bit of a theme that carried on throughout the season ... it was a fun time for them to see me get embarrassed."
When she complained to another female producer about the behavior, she was told to ignore the "locker room talk," and that it was a byproduct of the industry they worked in. She was even told this was the guys' way of trying to bond with her.
Shortly after complaining, Steenhoek was relegated to menial tasks and then fired "because she was not being enough of a 'bitch.'" Her lawsuit alleges sexual harassment, hostile work environment, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.
"We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously," Warner Bros. said in a statement. "These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year. Our findings did not support the plaintiff's characterization of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit."
As is the case with the rest of Hollywood, The Bachelor franchise is getting very familiar with scandal. The Bachelor spin-off Bachelor in Paradise was the subject of a high-profile sexual misconduct investigation earlier this year when one contestant allegedly took advantage of another contestant when the latter was impaired by alcohol. An independent investigation concluded no misconduct took place, but the franchise took a look at its rules to try to prevent potential similar situations from happening again.