Former Bachelor contestant Bekah Martinez—the only cast member who made Arie’s season bearable—has accused Leandro “Leo” Dottavio from the most recent season of the Bachelorette, of sexual harassment.
According to the New York Post, the allegations became public on Wednesday when Martinez shared a series of screenshots on her Instagram story detailing inappropriate behavior between Dottavio and a handful of women, all of which were sent to her by fans of the franchise. They included unsolicited dick picks and messages like “you need my big dick.”
Martinez also posted a video addressing her audience, claiming that Dottavio’s lawyers “reached out to her to remove her posts and issue a public apology or be sued for defamation.”
Martinez, who has never met Dottavio in person, told the Post, “hearing first hand from other cast members about his behavior definitely did not lend to his character.” She continued:
“I started posting the screenshots [of their messages] because to me, it’s not a coincidence that multiple women would be saying similar things about the same person. There’s no way these women happen to be lying about the same thing before seeing what other women are saying.”
Dottavio has yet to respond to the allegations publicly. However, Martinez asserts that he reached out to her with “graphic claims from his own followers about her” in response to the accusations, to which she said, “[His response] is so toxic. This is why women don’t come forward.”
Jezebel has reached out to ABC, Martinez, and Dottavio for comment. We will update this post if we hear back.
Update, 1:39 p.m.: Jezebel received the following statement from Dottavio:
“There have been some recent stories about me that have garnered attention and I want to address them. I want to start by saying no one has ever directly accused me of sexual harassment. No one has ever come to me in any way and told me I made them feel uncomfortable. However, I am NOT A PERFECT person nor have I ever claimed to be. Did I do things in college that I would be embarrassed about now? Absolutely. Was I a part of my culture, the times, movies? Yes. I have grown as a person since college. I am not the man I was 2 years ago let alone 14 years ago. It’s important for women to speak out if they felt uncomfortable or harassed. I support that. If there was anyone I made feel uncomfortable why not come to me? I would love an opportunity to right my wrongs and speak to any woman that wants to tell me how and when I made them feel uncomfortable. I want to take this as an opportunity to better myself and the treatment of women in my life.”
ABC declined to comment.
Update, 8:18 p.m.: Bekah Martinez sent Jezebel the following statement:
“The reason I began posting any screenshots in the first place is because multiple women in my DMs were saying similar things, unprompted.
- Multiple women (8-10) have reported receiving unsolicited dick pics/inappropriate messages—timing on this ranging from several years ago to as recent as a month ago.
- 3 women have reported their younger teenage sisters being hit on by him at Universal Studios (where he works) and followed/messaged by him on social media. (recent—last several months) These allegations in particular are interesting because I never posted any screenshots related to these scenarios and they were 3 separate women at separate times messaging me. Call me crazy, but I find it hard to believe that they are all coincidentally lying or making up the same thing.
- the (now deleted) comment of “You need my big dick” on a woman’s photo which he claims was photoshopped although multiple people (at least 5) have come forward saying they saw the comment before it was deleted.
- 4 women have reported (in vague terms) aggressive sexual behavior, either in person or through the internet, to the point where they felt uncomfortable and had to block him or cut off contact. Timing ranging from college to present.”
“Leo has (finally) published a statement. In this he mainly wonders why women wouldn’t come to him personally. I CAN GUESS WHY. The way he’s handled everything up until now has been dismissive, frightening and unsympathetic.
When I first began posting, he posted an instagram story with him laughing, smirking, and a chorus of girls in the background saying “we love you Leo”.
He then proceeded to send me the cease and desist, threatening to sue if I didn’t remove my posts, issue a public apology, and send him a personal apology. He has done this in the past—he threatened to sue the woman who first posted the “You need my big dick” comment months ago and she removed everything and apologized. There are also screenshots of a woman on twitter in May saying he sent her friend 20 unsolicited dick pics; the tweet was followed by another saying he messaged her a cease and desist.
The fact that he’s now attempted to silence at least 3 women including myself and has succeeded with at least one is scary.
I posted screenshots of his DM conversation with me where he used phrases like “I dont sexually harass women lol”, “college was 14 years ago”, “if anyone had an actual problem I’d address it”. This is incredibly dismissive language and his way of attempting to undermine the experiences of women.
He then attempted to put my character in question and ruin my credibility by claiming I was a child molester and animal abuser.
All of these actions show zero remorse, zero self-reflection, and zero efforts to consider the possibility that he has hurt women. The way Leo has handled this situation is a perfect example of why victims don’t feel safe addressing him or coming out publicly.”