90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days star Geoffrey Paschel has responded as some TLC fans are calling for his removal from the series.
Earlier this week, a Change.org petition, titled “Remove Geoffrey Paschel from TLC shows,” was created, asking that Paschel be removed “from the show and have him appear on no further shows due to current allegations and criminal charges made against him.” The petition currently has over 2,400 signatures.
The blog Starcasm originally reported that his second wife allegedly claimed he raped her in her divorce filing, among other claims. TLC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, and PEOPLE has not been able to review the court documents cited by Starcasm.
According to the petition, Paschel, who is currently starring on season 4 of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, has allegedly “been accused of kidnapping, abuse, rape, child endangerment, dealing drugs, felony larceny, theft and battery. He is barred from ever entering Canada.”
Days later, Paschel, 41, issued a statement to Instagram addressing his reasons for appearing on the reality show despite his “checkered past.”
“I have been repeatedly asked why I would EVER want to be on a show (the best show FYI) where my life would be put in front of everyone to pick apart—especially with my checkered past,” he began. “Well, guys, it is MY past. It is MY life. It is MY choice. If we were all the same: thought the same, looked the same, or acted the same, how lame would that be?”
“My closed-up life was the only way I knew to live,” he continued, before admitting, “I hid so much about myself—whether it be my age, my history, or even my relationships. What crazier, whacked up way could I have done it any better than blasting out there?”
Said Paschel: “With the path I chose, it cannot EVER be reversed. Everything about me is out there for the world to see, whether it is true or fantasy. I can never go back, and honestly, I would not have it any different.”
“I have realized who my ‘people’ are and, opposingly, who only want to hold me down and set me back,” he said. “Luckily, I NOW have a strong support system via mostly complete strangers who have lifted me up SO high and have shared their love.”
Amid the accusations, Paschel said he is focused on a “new beginning.”
“Here is to finding MY light and new beginning at the other end of the tunnel! When things no longer work, find YOUR tunnel! See you tonight as I start my new quest to the other side of the world…I love you guys-always do YOU!” he concluded, before adding the hashtags: #90dayfiance #90dayfiancebeforethe90days #beforethe90days #mountains #nature #beard #knoxvilletennessee #knoxville #knoxvilletn #beyourself #journey #missingyou #always #kazhempaschel #cayvanpaschel #geoffreypaschel.“
Presently, Paschel’s journey to find love is unfolding on the TLC show, which follows international couples who have an existing relationship online and travel to the other’s foreign country to meet for the first time.
Paschel, who hails from Knoxville, Tennessee, is in a relationship with 30-year-old Varya, who is from Russian.
Ahead of the premiere in February, TLC introduced audiences to the couples featured on season 4.
“The last few years have been rough for Geoffrey. Shortly after his second marriage ended in divorce, he suffered the tragic loss of his son. But life started to look up when he met Varya on an international dating site,” TLC said in a release. “Despite their cultural differences, they quickly bonded over their shared love of adventure. Now, Geoffrey has a trip to Russia on the horizon and is considering proposing to Varya, but he must first prove to her family and friends that he’s the right man for her.”
90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on TLC.
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