UPDATE: Both DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios have released strongly worded statements about their reported roles in the controversial incident.
“It’s unfortunate that my character and family name has been assassinated this past week with false claims and malicious allegations,” DeMario told E! News Wednesday evening. “I will be taking swift and appropriate legal action until my name is cleared and, per the advice of legal counsel, will be seeking all available remedies entitled to me under the laws.”
Earlier that day, Olympios told People: “I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4th. Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production,” she said in the statement.
“As a woman, this is my worst nightmare and it has now become my reality,” the statement continues. “As I pursue the details and facts surrounding that night and the immediate days after, I have retained a group of professionals to ensure that what happened on June 4 comes to light and I can continue my life, including hiring an attorney to obtain justice and seeking therapy to begin dealing with the physical and emotional trauma stemming from that evening.”
ORIGINAL STORY: The fallout after reports of alleged misconduct on the set of Bachelor in Paradise has been both swift and secretive.
On Sunday, Warner Bros., the production company behind the popular reality TV spin-off, issued a statement alluding to an investigation into an as-yet unnamed incident. Since then, reports have surfaced speculating as to what exactly happened to cause the team to suspend production indefinitely. Here’s what we know so far.
The future of the season is currently in limbo.
Though Warner Bros. did note that it is “conducting a thorough investigation” into allegations of misconduct, and that it will “take appropriate responsive action” once the investigation is complete, the fate of the current season and the series as a whole remains unclear.
According to Variety, both ABC and Warner Bros. have denied that the show has been canceled. Bachelor in Paradise was originally slated to premiere August 8th.
“I don’t think there’s even a question of, is this the end of Bachelor in Paradise?” one top producer told the site. “But as for the franchise – who knows how bad it is? What is the truth? ABC is owned by Disney. There is no way that company is going to get anywhere near this situation. We do not know the extent of this situation.”
Popular Bachelor blogger Steve Carbone, better known as Reality Steve, gave his insider’s opinion on the Ringer’s Bachelorette Party podcast Monday, and said the prognosis is grim.
“I can tell you right now that this show is canceled, and it’s not happening, at least this summer,” he told podcast host Juliet Litman. “If you were to ask me my opinion right now on June 12th what I thought the outcome of all this would be, my guess is Bachelor in Paradise is done.”
The details of what exactly went down on set are still murky at best.
Shortly after news broke that Bachelor in Paradise’s production had been suspended, reports began to surface that two contestants had allegedly gotten extremely inebriated and had sexually explicit relations in the pool – all while cameras were rolling.
According to the reports, a third party – a producer on the show – felt uncomfortable about the behavior and threatened to sue the production for misconduct over what she witnessed. All the contestants were subsequently sent home.
According to Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman, a source told her that the two contestants in question were Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, who had both been portrayed as villains on their respective recent seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
DeMario and Corinne were both shown footage of their hookup during their interviews in the days following their rendezvous.
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) June 11, 2017
“DeMario and Corinne were both shown footage of their hookup during their interviews in the days following their rendezvous,” Kaufman revealed Sunday. Then, on Monday, sources close to Olympios told TMZ that the Miami native had blacked out and didn’t remember having sexual relations with Jackson, meaning that she would not have been able to give consent. The site reported that Olympios has retained an attorney.
Jackson has spoken out about what happened, as has show host Chris Harrison.
Though Olympios has yet to speak out publicly about the incident, Jackson gave Entertainment Tonight a very short, terse response when asked for his reaction to the mysterious chain of events.
“I have nothing to say,” he said as he left a Starbucks in Los Angeles. “You know, Corinne’s an awesome girl and that’s all I have to say.” To fans of the Bachelor franchise, he added, “Love you all, thank you for the support.”
On Tuesday, host Harrison released a statement to Good Morning America asking viewers to be “patient” as the investigation continues.
“The safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us. It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming,” he said in the statement. “Out of respect to all involved, there’s only so much I can and will say at this time. Normally a situation like this I would not say anything until the incident is fully resolved, but with all the rumors and misinformation being put out there, I don’t find that to be possible anymore.”
Other Bachelor alum have weighed in on the scandal.
Ben Higgins, who starred as the Bachelor season 20, offered his two cents about the controversy on a Tuesday episode of his podcast with former Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Ashley Iaconetti.
“People assume things about the show,” he said. “They assume situations are set-up. They assume people are put/forced into different scenarios. … I was never forced into anything. I was talked through as a friend in situations. If I was confused, they would sit with me and allow me to speak my mind and help me process. And yes, there is producing that is done. It’s a show! There are situations that happen that they need to get something out of it, but it’s never a forced situation. They don’t write a storyline before the season starts.”
Fellow alum like Tanner Tolbert, Caila Quinn and Raven Gates have also weighed in.
I feel bad for everyone involved… cast and crew… and that people aren’t going to be able to enjoy an experience that meant so much to us https://t.co/QQsAp9fxAd
— Tanner Tolbert (@ttolbert05) June 12, 2017
Praying for those that were hurt by today’s events.. respectful love should be our heart’s pursuit ? #BIP
— Caila Quinn (@CailaQuinn) June 12, 2017
I’m heartbroken about BIP. ?
— Raven (@ravengates09) June 12, 2017
The Bachelor franchise has been riddled with serious scandals in the past.
This isn’t the first time ABC’s enormously popular, lucrative franchise has garnered media attention for scandals taking place off-screen. In 2010, contestant Roslyn Papa was kicked off the show after she had a physical relationship with one of the show’s producers. Former Bachelor star Juan Pablo made headlines for making off-color remarks about the potential of a gay Bachelor in 2014. And most recently, Lee Garrett, a contestant on this season of The Bachelorette, has been called a bigot for racist and sexist tweets he made a few years back, prompting fans to call for him to to be pulled from the show.
Several Bachelor and Bachelorette alum have also taken their own lives in the past few years, most recently Lex McAllister, a contestant on Jake Pavelka’s season of The Bachelor. McAllister passed away in February 2015 after overdosing on prescription pills. Gia Allemand, who also competed on Pavelka’s season, as well as then-spinoff Bachelor Pad, hanged herself in August 2013. And season 5 Bachelorette contestant Julien Hug, who vied for Jillian Harris’ heart, fatally shot himself in 2010.
The Bachelor franchise – expertly satirized and critiqued in Lifetime’s acclaimed drama UnREAL – has often been criticized for encouraging a culture of competition and aggression amongst contestants, as well as a propensity for sexually risky behavior.