Despite a fear of retribution, The Bachelor alum Demi Burnett has decided to come forward with an incident in which blogger RealitySteve sexually harassed her over the phone.
Demi took to Twitter, where she described an incident in which she says RealitySteve, aka Steve Carbone, used his power to tell her about his highly sexual dream about her. She explained,
“Last August, you messaged me telling me you had something you wanted to share with me. You said, ‘it was bizarre and something you couldn’t put into writing.'”
“Fearing it was some gossip you heard about me, I agreed to talk on the phone with you. Then you proceeded to tell me about a graphic sex dream you had of me. I felt uncomfortable wasn’t sure how I should handle your unwanted and unprompted sexual advance. So I laughed and tried to get off the phone with you as quickly as possible.”
Although the phone call went down a little over six months ago, Demi said she waited until now to tell the story due to fear of retribution. She explained,
“Out of fear of you talking bad about us, many cast members in Bachelor Nation decide to try to have a professional relationship with you and be friendly, hoping that might prevent you from gossiping about us.”
Demi was particularly motivated to appear cooperative with him after he publicly outed her as bisexual. She recalled,
“After you outed me as a bisexual before I had a chance to tell my family, I figured fuck it! I might as well respond to you to try to avoid you gossiping about my personal life any longer.”
In the comments section, Steve apologized to Demi and wrote,
“I had no idea at the time that conversation made you feel that way. I am apologizing now knowing how uncomfortable I made you feel. I crossed boundaries I didn’t think at the time I was crossing. I did not know this until today. So for that, I hope you can accept my apology.”
Many fans found Steve’s apology to be insincere, however. One person wrote,
“Ummm…how did you think that would make her feel? The fact that you didn’t even stop to think about it is problematic in itself. And saying ‘oh, I didn’t realize you felt that way’ isn’t good enough.”
“You are full of shit. You are ~20 yrs her senior and knew that you held the power. You made her call you bc you didn’t want her to have written documentation and then followed it up by asking her not to share with anyone. You knew it was inappropriate. Weird af all around.”
In response, Steve took to Twitter to claim that he’s since changed and is “embarrassed I thought that way, I’m embarrassed I wrote it, and ever since, I’ve done whatever I could to change that line of thinking.”
It’s this Twitter thread that prompted Demi to tell her story. As she explained,
“I wasn’t going to ever say anything out of fear of criticism. But after being made aware of this tweet and your history of treating women, I had to say something.”
Although Demi never specifically called the incident “sexual harassment,” it certainly fits all the requirements.
As Demi described, Steve is in a position of power and many Bachelor alums fear he will spread untoward gossip about them if they aren’t nice to him.
Steve then took advantage of his position of power and subjected Demi to an incredibly uncomfortable situation. As Demi described,
“You took my friendliness as an excuse to trick me into listening to your sexual fantasies about me. It felt gross. I don’t think I deserved to have you make me feel this way.”
That, in its entirety, is sexual harassment, no question. And, as Demi says, no woman deserves that.
In addition to telling her story, Demi included receipts with a screenshot of their text exchange post-phone call in which Steve asked her not to tell anyone while reiterated that the dream was “fucking hot.”
Of course, no woman should ever feel like they need to provide proof of sexual harassment or assault. Their word should be enough.
But we all know that’s not the world we live in and that many are determined to discredit women no matter what.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.