ABC Pulls Episode of ‘The Proposal’ After Sexual Assault Accusation
Posted June 22, 2018 7:54 p.m. EDT
ABC said Friday that it has pulled the second episode of “The Proposal,” its new reality dating series, after a women accused one of its male contestants of facilitating a sexual assault against her.
In a Facebook post Thursday that was paired with a photo of contestants from the show’s official webpage, the woman, Erica Denae Meshke, wrote, “One of the men pictured here was directly responsible for my date rape.”
Meshke, who lives in Milwaukee, described first encountering the man in November on Tinder. He invited her to “the lobby/entertainment room of an apartment complex,” she wrote, adding that when she arrived he was accompanied by two other men whom he called his friends. According to Meshke, she was given a drink, and then the contestant left her alone with the two men, promising to return soon. After accepting another drink while waiting, she wrote, one of the other men took her to an apartment in the building and assaulted her for several hours. (She said what she endured was “unspeakable,” but did not elaborate.) Meshke said she believes her drink was spiked.
Meshke did not name the man she accused in her initial post, but did include a screenshot of his individual photo in the comments section.
Nor was the accused contestant named in a joint statement released by ABC and Warner Horizon on Friday, which read: “An allegation has been made against a contestant on next week’s episode of ‘The Proposal.’ While the accusation was not related to the contestant’s appearance on the program, we take it very seriously. ABC and the producers of ‘The Proposal’ are pulling the episode while this matter is under review.”
In a separate Facebook post Friday, Meshke wrote that she did not make an official police report at the time but suggested her plans to do so now. “I thought I was alone. I thought no one would believe me.” She added that now “an official report can be made, and evidence can start to be gathered.”
It was the second time this month an ABC reality dating show was found to have a contestant accused of misconduct. Lincoln Adim, one of the male suitors on “The Bachelorette,” was convicted in May of indecent assault and battery for groping a woman in 2016, before he was cast on the show. Warner Bros., which also produces that show, said Adim had not disclosed his arrest during the casting process, and it was investigating why it had not turned up in their criminal background checks.
In each episode of “The Proposal,” one person who is hidden from view is given the choice of 10 contestants who in turn vie for his or her affections. Over the course of the hour, the competition is whittled down to two contestants, and the bachelor or bachelorette offers a “romantic proposal” to one. Because of the contained nature of each episode, future episodes will not be affected by ABC’s decision. In an email, ABC said that in the episode that has been pulled, the contestant in question was eliminated in the first round, and that a “new and different episode will air in its place on Monday.”