Controversy sprung up around ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise this summer when a taped sexual encounter between DeMario Jackson, 30, and Corinne Olympios, 25, prompted a misconduct allegation from a producer and forced production to shut down temporarily. After two weeks of investigation, WBTV concluded that no wrongdoing had taken place, but rumors about the incident had already shaped a national narrative.
“I think people wanted it to be something different,” Jackson told THR. “They wanted the angry black guy and this little, innocent white girl. But it wasn’t that.”
Jackson claims that the producer who filed the complaint was not present for the encounter and had not seen the footage. Prior to Paradise‘s second season, the cast discussed the matter with host Chris Harrison and pointed to inaccurate reporting for much of the confusion. They also agreed that race played a factor in the widespread mainstream media attention focused on the scandal.
Jackson, who says he is not upset with Olympios, believes that if he were white or if she was black, “we wouldn’t even be having this discussion at all,” per THR. He insists their interactions were “100-percent consensual” and commends ABC for how they handled the difficult situation.
“If anyone argues, tell them to Google ‘Charlottesville,'” he said about race furthering the story’s reach. “That’s the world we live in. Look who our president is. Just tell them to look up what Trump said. It’s always the white guy who says race didn’t play a factor. Trust me, there were four black people on that entire island, three castmates and one producer. Luckily that producer followed me over [to the pool with Corinne] because I gave him the look. He followed me over with cameras.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays on ABC.