In a candid discussion among the “Bachelor In Paradise” cast, participants admitted that race played a role in what unfolded after the sexual misconduct scandal.
“I think it’s very important that we sit down and have a serious talk, all of us, about what happened, what didn’t happen and what we all need to do to start this show together,” host Chris Harrison said during the season premiere Tuesday, Aug. 15, according to People magazine.
He added Warner Bros. hired an outside firm that investigated allegations that Corinne Olympios, who is white, was too intoxicated to consent to sex with DeMario Jackson, who is Black. Ultimately, it was found “the tape does not support any charge of misconduct” by Jackson.
“Do you think race played a part in this?” Harrison asked the cast.
Participants responded in the affirmative.
“I’m sensitive to it because I’m from the South and we have a stigma that … seeing a white woman with a Black man is wrong,” Raven Gates, who is Black, said, according to People. “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.”
A producer on set voiced concern about a sexual act between Jackson and Olympios in the pool on the Mexico set of the show. As production temporarily halted, contractions arose over whether Olympios was “fully engaged” or if, as sources told TMZ, she wasn’t aware of what occurred until castmates filled her in.
“I was just thinking the whole time, ‘What if this happened to my brother?’ People reported Jasmine Goode, who is white, said post-production. [Jackson is] a great guy [based on] the guy I met here … and I never felt he was aggressive with any of us. … I just hate that he’s going to have this image stuck with him for a while.”
Kenneth “Diggy” Moreland, who also is Black, echoed similar concerns.
“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,” he said, according to the magazine. “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.”
Jackson told Entertainment Tonight after the “BiP” premiere that suicide “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.”
Olympios has remained mum since concluding an independent investigation of the scandal, but Harrison told ET she and Jackson would talk on air for the “BiP.”