A “Bachelor in Paradise’ scandal threatens to not only cancel the show, but forever change ABC’s long-running hit “Bachelor” franchise going forward.
The alleged “sexual misconduct” incident that occurred while taping last week in Mexico has shut down production, forced ABC and show producer Warner Horizon into launching an investigation, and threatens to cancel the show.
On Wednesday, both “Bachelor in Paradise” contestants who are reportedly at the center of the alleged incident, DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, released their first official statements. Both claimed they’re victims of the scandal and have sought legal counsel.
How did we get here, and what’s next? Here’s a rundown of all the events we know so far:
The potential for a sexual misconduct scandal was already at play.
Before we go into the actual events of the current scandal, we have to acknowledge that all the elements for it have been cooking for years. It’s almost a wonder that it took 15 years of “The Bachelor” and multiple spin-offs for a sexual misconduct scandal to happen.
Just look at the mix: An attractive young man or woman vying for the attention of equally attractive people, competition, hunger for celebrity, and in many cases, a real desire to fall in love. Throw alcohol into the mix and you have a recipe for possible disaster, and certainly legal trouble.
That said, the current “Bachelor in Paradise” scandal — in which a female cast member was, according to reported allegations from those working on the show, sexually assaulted while too drunk to consent — clearly stepped over the boundaries set for reality TV.
A veteran reality TV producer, who has never worked on the “Bachelor” franchise but has worked on similar shows, told Variety that they found this incident “unusual.”
“My concern about this situation is that if the person was beyond a point of making her choices and was still being shot and being put into this scenario, it’s a very weird situation,” the producer said. “When you talk about sexual assault, it’s almost always just two people alone and it becomes a he-said-she-said situation; this is the most unusual situation because not only is there a third party, but there are cameras that watched everything that happened and everything that led up to what happened. That, to me, is the smoking gun as to why a franchise worth hundreds of millions of dollars was shut down.”
Sunday, June 4: Day of the alleged sexual assault.
With three seasons under its belt, taping on its fourth season started on this day in Mexico. Taping was slated to last three weeks. It also happened to be the day when the reported incident occurred.
Sources told news outlets that a sexual encounter between DeMario Jackson (“The Bachelorette” season 13) and Corinne Olympios (“The Bachelor” season 21) occurred when she was too drunk to give proper consent and the show’s cameras were rolling.
TMZ published a graphic description of the alleged sexual encounter between the contestants in a hot tub.
Tuesday, June 6: An investigation was underway, production halted, and the contestants were placed on lockdown.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, production continued on the show Monday. But at some point between Sunday and Tuesday, a producer filed a complaint of potential sexual misconduct. It isn’t clear whether that producer was present while the incident was being taped.
On the condition of anonymity, a contestant told People that taping was being suspended and the cast members were placed on lockdown Tuesday, meaning they were sent to separate rooms, couldn’t contact one another, and were under constant supervision by production.
“We were told to stay in a certain part of the [resort] while they figured out what the hell had happened,” the contestant said “We knew something bad had happened; there was a dark energy that came around the house. You have to understand that we weren’t even there a week. The game hadn’t even really begun yet.”
THR reported that DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios had been questioned ahead of the other contestants after the complaint was filed and were sent home.