'[People] wanted the angry black guy and this little, innocent white girl. But it wasn’t'

By Nick Romano
August 17, 2017 at 11:20 AM EDT

DeMario Jackson agrees with his Bachelor in Paradise costars: Race played a factor in the controversy surrounding him and Corinne Olympios. However, Jackson got even more frank during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying he wouldn’t even be in this situation if he were white.

“If I would have been [white contestants] Alex [Woytkiw] or Derek [Peth], we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, I would probably be engaged to Alexis right now,” he said. “If anyone argues, tell them to Google ‘Charlottesville.’ 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.”

A sexual encounter occurred between Jackson and Olympios, who had both been drinking at the time, in a hot tub at the show’s Mexican resort. After a producer filed a misconduct claim, production halted as the producers brought in an outside firm to investigate the incident. The two-week process determined there had been no wrongdoing and the show resumed filming without Jackson and Olympios.

“It was 100 percent consensual,” Jackson told THR. “She hopped in my arms, she pulled me into the pool. You’ve seen that with your own eyes. I think people wanted it to be something different. They wanted the angry black guy and this little, innocent white girl. But it wasn’t.”

When asked how the situation would be different if Olympios had been black, he said, “This wouldn’t have been a story. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion at all. Right now, you would just be watching Paradise and saying, ‘DeMario’s whistle is so annoying!’ The minute you saw a black man and a white woman’s face, I had black America who hated me because I’m a sellout with a white girl. And I had white America calling me the N-word and telling me to ‘go back to Africa.’ And they were slut-shaming Corinne, which sucked. For me, I’m just sitting here thinking, ‘Wow. Our world.’ The human race continues to let me down.”

In the second half of season 4’s two-night premiere, Bachelor in Paradise host Chris Harrison spoke with the cast and addressed the situation in its aftermath. Their collective response was that race “for sure” and “absolutely” influenced the scandal.

“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,” Raven Gates said. “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.”

Jackson and Olympios will “have their say,” according to executive producer Martin Hilton, in interviews that will air in weeks two and three of Bachelor in Paradise. The season premiered Monday, Aug. 14.

Episode Recaps

Bachelor in Paradise

Chris Harrison goes international with a cast of former bachelors and bachelorettes looking for love… and a chance to extend their reality fame.

  • TV Show
  • 5
  • ABC