Bachelor in Paradise returned with a bang, but Chris Harrison doesn’t think the media did a bang-up job of reporting on the show’s two-part season premiere. Harrison had harsh words for TV and entertainment outlets after the ABC reality show was criticized for how it handled the sex scandal that shut down production of the show for nearly two weeks earlier this summer.
TV critics took issue with how Bachelor in Paradise handled a controversial encounter between castmates Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson that temporarily shut down production of the show in Mexico as Warner Bros. investigated claims of sexual misconduct on the set. The actual footage of the encounter between Olympios and Jackson was not shown on Bachelor in Paradise, despite the fact that the internal investigation concluded that there was no wrongdoing
Instead, longtime Bachelor in Paradise host Chris Harrison was shown hosting a serious sit-down chat with the returning contestants about what happened and what the meaning of consent is. The Bachelor in Paradise cast also glumly admitted that racism played a part in the Corinne-DeMario drama.
Despite Harrison’s promises that his show handled the aftermath of the controversy in a satisfactory way, the Bachelor in Paradise premiere was slammed by TV critics for its “irresponsible” handling of the sexual assault claims.
TV Guide’s Liam Matthews questioned why the actual footage of the encounter was not shown, saying it seems as though the how is “hiding something” and adding, “the way the show and the network has handled this whole thing has been so sketchy.”
Vulture’s Ali Barthwell called ABC’s handling of the scandal “one of, if not the most, egregious and irresponsible discussions about sexual assault I have ever seen.”
And Vanity Fair accused the show of treating “that fateful encounter as just another source of drama.”
While critics were unsatisfied with how the return of Bachelor in Paradise was handled, Harrison voiced his anger with media outlets for bashing his show. In an interview with Variety, Harrison slammed the media’s“incompetence” in reporting on the two-part Bachelor in Paradise premiere.
“What really astounded me was the level of incompetence — things that were said and printed by quote-unquote reputable media, and reputable print, and even TV,” Chris told Variety.
“It was incredible to me the things that were said out loud about Corinne, about DeMario, about the show that were so outlandish, so false, and completely fabricated. There are people’s lives in the balance that could have easily been destroyed. The fact that you can clearly see that journalism is dead, and long gone on every level — whether it’s the network, whether it’s print… it’s really sad.”
Chris Harrison also defended the show’s decision not to show the encounter between Olympios and Jackson, despite the fact that the investigation cleared the Bachelor in Paradise stars of any wrongdoing, saying it was ” in everyone’s best interest — that we didn’t show it. ”
“There was nothing to be gained from showing it, Chris said. “I stand behind that decision 100%.”
Harrison went on to tout The Bachelor franchise’s merits, claiming the ABC reality chain has “always” been pushing social issues.
“Even Kaitlyn [Bristowe] being slut shamed … cyber bullying … we’ve dealt with it all,” Harrison said. “Now, you’re just seeing it in a more noticeable way because it is such a big deal. But we’ve always sparked those conversations. We’re trying to make a show that entertains, but it’s not lost on us, the social impact that we have.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]