What an important conversation.
On night two of the Bachelor in Paradise premiere on Tuesday, ABC showed some of the story between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios before the controversial hookup — but more interestingly, Chris Harrison sat down with the cast for a discussion about race, sexual consent, and whether or not the show should resume.
It’s not every day these conversations pop up on reality TV, but we’re still curious to know if this was just a desperate attempt for Warner Bros. to prove they aren’t liable.
ANYWAY, we’ll let you be the judge.
— Harrison asked the remaining cast members if they trusted the outside firm’s conclusion that there was “no evidence of misconduct by cast on the set,” to which Raven Gates responded:
“I was confident that nothing happened between DeMario and Corinne that was bad. I trusted everyone that worked here, so I knew everything was going to be okay.”
“My biggest worry was for not only production, because I felt like they were kinda blamed. My worry was for DeMario and Corrine because we knew what happened, but it was so unfair the way that people were speaking about DeMario and the blame he was getting and the horrible things said to him and Corinne both ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ it broke my heart because I thought no matter if everything is cleared up, people are still going to associate something bad happening with Corinne and DeMario.”
Alex Woytkiw chimed in:
“I think there was a lot in the media regarding the producers as if they’re not our friends and they’re just using us to make us do things like we’re going to just do whatever they say.”
Derek Peth added:
“I think there’s a weird perception that exists out there that we’re not in control of ourselves when we’re here. ├óΓé¼┬ª We all know how realistic the friendships are with and among the cast. ├óΓé¼┬ª We are here to make our own decisions and develop real relationships with everybody.”
Taylor Nolan (Corinne’s arch-nemesis from Nick Viall‘s season who doesn’t drink) dished:
“We’re responsible for ourselves and the things we say, how much we drink, who we kiss. We’re all adults here. We’re not here to be babysat by production.”
“Diggy” Moreland expressed his concern for DeMario’s future:
“Obviously everything came out clean, but I empathize with DeMario a lot more just because I mean obviously we had a black male, white female. But he has 20-30 years of Google searches that are going to be done in his name. I’m thinking of the long-term effects and I was really pissed about that.”
— Chris then asked the contestants if they thought race “played a part” in the whole debacle, to which everyone responded with a bevy of “yes,” “for sure,” and “absolutely” answers.
“I’m sensitive to it because I’m from the South and we have a stigma that we’re seeing a white woman with a black man is wrong. And that night, what happened wasn’t wrong. And so I was super empathetic with DeMario because it’s just another issue. Not only is consent important, but it’s also to get rid of the stigma that interracial couples can’t be or blaming African American men for crimes they didn’t commit.”
Jasmine Goode said of her outrage over what happened:
“I was just thinking the whole time: what if this happened to my brother? He’s a great guy from the guy I met here ├óΓé¼┬ª and I never felt he was aggressive with any of us. ├óΓé¼┬ª I just hate that he’s going to have this image stuck with him for a while.”
— Then there was the other important topic of conversation: slut-shaming.
Raven voiced again:
“I think for me and Jasmine, when we were kind of vocal about sticking up for DeMario, people automatically assumed we were slut-shaming Corinne and that was not the case at all. We felt for her. It was never calling her any names or judging her for anything she did. Because we didn’t think she did anything wrong and neither did DeMario.”
Nick’s runner-up then continued by bravely opening up about her own experience of being sexually assaulted:
“A lot of people don’t know this that I was in a very abusive relationship and there was a point where I was sexually assaulted and so I guess that’s why I took this kind of really personally. So I hope this situation doesn’t deter actual victims from coming forward and really speaking their truth and getting help and asking for help. I hope this doesn’t deter anybody.”
— Lastly, Harrison brought up sexual consent.
The TV personality said:
“One of the topics that this has raised and something we should talk about is consent ├óΓé¼┬ª ‘How do you know when someone has given consent when you are getting intimate with somebody?’ and ‘If somebody is passed out, unresponsive, can they give consent? If somebody is drunk, can they give consent?’ … The purpose of Paradise and what I’m hoping for all of you ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and I’m sure you’re all hoping ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ is to fall in love here. Part of falling in love is physical intimacy. That’s a big part of any serious relationship. But for while you’re here, please keep consent issues in mind and actually that goes for forever, but it definitely should be something we all talk talk about and something we all think about.”
After the sit-down, everyone agreed to resume partying on the beach — and we even got to see Carly Waddell and Evan Bass tie the knot!
In a new interview with ET, DeMario said he feels “vindicated” now that his name was cleared on BIP.
“I feel like they rolled enough of the tape. You can’t show too much, because that’s gonna disrespect Corinne and I, and I just feel like it wouldn’t be the best or the classiest thing to do. But, they showed enough”
“The public, they need to see something. I think they just needed to see [that] she’s lucid. I’m lucid. We’re swimming around. We’re having fun. We’re friends. It wasn’t like I’m some predator who was at the bar waiting for the girl to get extremely drunk, then I’m like, ‘Oops! Let me pounce on her.’ No, it was very mutual and, in fact, she was a little bit of the aggressor in it, and I love how they painted the picture and the story of us actually talking, mingling, getting to know each other … I do wish [they explained more], Like, that very moment of us getting into the pool and everything, that’s when we had kinda got, you know, a little more cozier, so to speak. Everything happened and then we were just finished.”
One of the things that made him most upset about this whole ordeal was the effect it had on his family:
“I feel guilty, because my mom didn’t sign up for this, and she’s been getting harassed, people tweeting at her, on her Instagram saying, ‘Your son’s a rapist.’ That was the part I was most sad about. I feel like I created this for my family, in a sense, by being a little reckless. And I just want to say I’m sorry to them.”
“The human race failed me, because instead of waiting to see what happened, people were already painting me as this horrible villain, and they were slut-shaming Corinne, and it wasn’t the case. It was just very, like, ‘Oh, Corinne was like this in a past season. So, she’s like this, and DeMario is black, and the media has portrayed African Americans like this for so many years, so he’s that’… Do you guys not think about the people whose lives you’re ruining?”
There was even a moment that left Jackson — who confessed to losing over 20 pounds and sought a therapist after the scandal — feeling “suicidal, but not like the suicidal that you might think”:
“I never thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna kill myself,’ but it crossed my mind. I remember just talking to my mom, like, ‘My life’s over. Like, I don’t even want to live anymore.’ And she, like, lost it.”
We’re just so happy this whole thing is over.
[Image via ABC.]