Bachelor In Paradise participants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson sat down with host Chris Harrison on Saturday for a pair of on-camera interviews that offer a “heartbreaking” and “emotional” perspective into the events that occurred on the show’s Mexico set this summer.
Executive producer Martin Hilton talked to EW exclusively about how Olympios and Jackson “will have their say” in weeks two and three of the show, which returns for a fourth season Aug. 14 on ABC. The interviews will be included in the weekly installments of Bachelor In Paradise because the “topic is very much alive still,” teases Hilton. Production on the reality show was briefly shut down earlier this summer after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced between Jackson and Olympios. After the show’s production company, Warner Bros. TV, investigated the allegations and deemed nothing improper occurred, production resumed on the fourth season — though its debut date on ABC was delayed.
Olympios and Jackson didn’t return to the set in Mexico but “we did not want to wait until the end of the season when we normally have the reunion show,” explains Hilton, of the taped interviews. “Instead we are putting something smack in the middle that addresses this. They each have their say. They were quite emotional in terms of how they felt, DeMario in particular. It was really heartbreaking to see what he had to say. I think it was unfair equally to both Demario and Corinne in terms of the way they were portrayed [in media reports]. He, as the perpetrator of sexual assault in an unproven, unsubstantiated way was really terrible. But Corinne also being held up as ‘she brought it on herself, she deserved this, she tricked him’…. the slut-shaming that went on was not okay. If someone comes to her in Paradise and wants to be sexually open and intimate, that is their prerogative. It shouldn’t have any kind of backlash or any meaning, like she was entrapping someone, anything like that. That’s really not fair to her.”
As for the incident in question, Short and executive producer Mike Fleiss “really debated back and forth on what to do with that material” but ultimately decided against broadcasting the sexual encounter.
“The issue is more one of privacy between Corinne and DeMario,” Hilton tells EW. “Because of privacy issues and what the media might make of it, it’s really not fair to even release anything about that particular moment. What happened leading up to it and seeing how they related, however, is going to be on TV.”
That said, Hilton claims Olympios and Jackson didn’t behave very differently than contestants on previous seasons — with a few exceptions.
“There’s no line that was crossed that is different than any other previous season,” Hilton tells EW. “If there is a perception issue, it had to do with how quickly they seemed to get into each other, and the fact it was in broad daylight. It was fairly out in the open. That’s unusual for us. Normally people are a little more discreet and they didn’t seem to have any inhibition whatsoever. If there was a line that was crossed, it was that. But not in terms of any actual behavior.”