Bachelor in Paradise will resume filming after a temporary shutdown in production, but a franchise alum says there’s more to the story between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, whose alleged drunken hookup led to scandal on the set.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Bachelorette constant Will Gaskins defended his friend Jackson and blasted the Bachelor in Paradise production staff, and, seemingly, Olympios herself, claiming race was the reason behind the scandal that rocked the rose-filled summertime reality show.
Although Rachel Lindsay’s fellow suitor says he planned to stay out of the Paradise drama, once it was announced the show will resume production in Mexico, he decided to speak up in defense of Jackson. An investigation by Warner Bros. Television concluded that no misconduct occurred on the set of Bachelor in Paradise, but Gaskins feels the reason the incident blew up in the first place is due to the fact that Jackson is a black man who hooked up with a white woman.
In his post, The Bachelorette suitor revealed that while he was happy that the matter is closed from ABC’s perspective, he added it “is not the end of this story.” Gaskins acknowledge there have been accusations regarding consent and “the ability to give it,” but he says both Bachelor in Paradise parties were “willing participants in whatever it is that happened that day.”
— Seventeen (@seventeen) June 23, 2017
Gaskins did not name Olympios in his comments, but it was clear he was talking about the blonde beauty’s behavior on the Bachelor in Paradise set on June 4.
“There were multiple other people with whom one party engaged in some type of physical contact with that day but it wasn’t until the black man got into the mix that this was deemed as no longer acceptable. We can lie to ourselves and say that race isn’t a factor here and pretend that it doesn’t affect our day to day lives but it’s just that, a lie.”
Gaskins described DeMario as straight forward caring, saying he hopes his friend will be vindicated. Olympios hired celebrity lawyer Marty Singer after claiming she was a “victim” in the on-set incident, while Jackson says the scandal has damaged his reputation and family name. The reality star was also reportedly fired from his job as an executive recruiter in the aftermath of the firestorm.
“I hope that in the coming days, hours and months that he will continue to be vindicated of any wrongdoing and his name will no longer be associated with such a despicable act,” Gaskins wrote of the ill-fated Bachelor in Paradise star.
So I have largely tried to stay out of the drama; both during my time in the house as well as after my time on the show came to a close but this issue has been one that I have been following closely. I'm glad that from abc's perspective this matter is closed and that is certainly a step In the right direction. But that is not the end of this story. A lot of conversation has gone back and forth and accusations have flown regarding consent and the ability to give it, primarily from one direction. However one thing which has been largely absent from these headlines is the fact that by all accounts of those present both parties were willing participants in whatever it is that happened that day. And in fact there were multiple other people with whom one party engaged in some type of physical contact with that day but it wasn't until The black man got into the mix that this was deemed as no longer acceptable. We can lie to ourselves and say that race isn't a factor here and pretend that it doesn't affect our day to day lives but it's just that, a lie. It has hurt me these past few weeks seeing someone who I consider a friend get dragged left and right. None of you got to know or see Demario the way that those of us in the house did; if you had you would know that he is one of the most straight forward and caring ppl you could ever care to know. Those first few days he went out of his way to get to know everyone, take time to make sure that some of the guys who may have been having a hard time dealing with the stresses of the day to day of being on the show felt comfortable and at ease. Nobody got a chance to see that side of D, yes he's loud, yes he's a little obnoxious, and yea he should have clearly broken things off with that other woman before pursuing Rachel. but to those who know him he's also the guy you can call when you are in need and he will be there for you to listen, give advice or just make you laugh and crack a smile. I hope that in the coming days, hours and months that he will continue to be vindicated of any wrongdoing and his name will no longer be associated with such a despicable act. Rant over…..for now #freedemario
A source close to Bachelor in Paradise echoed Gaskin’s comments about race and the incident that was caught on camera by BIP producers.
“There’s an elephant in the room — that this is a black man and a white woman,” the insider told People.
“The story isn’t these two people snuck away off site and something happened between them that we don’t know about. It’s all there.”
But a legal insider for Olympios tells the magazine it’s “obvious” something went significantly wrong in Paradise.
“It’s very rare to shut down a production,” the source explained. “People have been killed on movie and TV sets, and yet they continue to film. In this case, it’s been completely shut down.”
With the investigation complete and Bachelor in Paradise ready to roll for a redo, the insider told People DeMario Jackson should “be okay” in the long run.
“No one handled this the right way,” the source said.
“You have to take every accusation seriously, but you don’t have to ruin this young man’s career, his family name. This isn’t someone of questionable character. Hopefully he can recover from this.”
It has not gone unnoticed by Bachelor Nation that the scandal may have been race related. Former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey expressed sadness over the fact that the hoopla was taking way from Rachel Lindsay’s “historic” season as the first-ever African American Bachelorette. Other fans of the franchise believe race is behind the scandal as well.
— Ashley Spivey (@AshleySpivey) June 20, 2017
So now that the Bachelor in Paradise kerfluffle is resolved, can we talk about how racist it was?
— Kelly N (@kellyanew) June 20, 2017
So…was it a racist white woman or white male producer that took issue with the DeMario/Corrine hookup? #BachelorInParadise
— PositionedToWin (@ActsofFaithblog) June 12, 2017
It has been reported that neither Jackson or Olympios will return to ABC for Bachelor in Paradise, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, Jackson could get a forum on the network to address the controversy and tell his side of events. Bachelor in Paradise producers are currently in talks about how to address the scandal when the show returns to ABC in August.
[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for IMDb.com]