Corinne’s Sexual History On 'The Bachelor' Doesn’t Mean She Can’t Be A Victim Of Sexual Assault — UPDATE
Normally, Bachelor In Paradise is the flirty, fun spinoff to The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, which invites popular contestants from both shows back for a second chance at finding nationally-televised love. Currently, however, the fate of BiP is up in the air after "allegations of misconduct" were reported on set, effectively halting production of this season. While nothing is confirmed, sources claimed to TMZ that a non-consensual drunken sexual encounter between DeMario and Corinne allegedly took place — and fans of The Bachelor are already holding Corinne’s past activity on the show against her. (Sources close to DeMario claimed to TMZ that the two did hook up, but nothing in their statements indicated that he thought it was anything other than consensual. Corinne and DeMario have not returned Bustle's request for comment.)
Update: In a video posted by TMZ, Jackson says "no comment" in response to numerous questions about the alleged incident. Asked if he's upset about reports alleging that Olympios claims she did not give consent, Jackson responded, ""No, no. I'm all good."
Update #2: On Wednesday, June 14, Corinne Olympios' rep released a statement about the Bachelor In Paradise allegations to Bustle:
“I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4. Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production. As a woman, this is my worst nightmare and it has now become my reality. As I pursue the details and facts surrounding that night and the immediate days after, I have retained a group of professionals to ensure that what happened on June 4 comes to light and I can continue my life, including hiring an attorney to obtain justice and seeking therapy to begin dealing with the physical and emotional trauma stemming from that evening.”
Update #3: On the evening of Wednesday, June 14, Jackson released a statement about Olympios' allegations to E! News:
"It's unfortunate that my character and family name has been assassinated this past week with false claims and malicious allegations. I will be taking swift and appropriate legal action until my name is cleared and, per the advice of legal counsel, will be seeking all available remedies entitled to me under the laws."
Update #4: On June 20, an ABC spokesperson provided the following statement to Bustle:
“We appreciate the swift and complete investigation by Warner Bros. into allegations of misconduct on the set of ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’ Given their results, the series will resume production, and will air this summer on ABC.”
Warner Bros.' statement to Bustle read,
"As we previously stated, we recently became aware of allegations regarding an incident on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico. We take all such allegations seriously. The safety, security and well-being of the cast and crew is our number one concern, and we suspended filming so that the allegations could be investigated immediately and thoroughly. Our internal investigation, conducted with the assistance of an outside law firm, has now been completed. Out of respect for the privacy interests of those involved, we do not intend to release the videotape of the incident. We can say, however, that the tape does not support any charge of misconduct by a cast member. Nor does the tape show, contrary to many press reports, that the safety of any cast member was ever in jeopardy. Production on this season of Bachelor in Paradise will be resuming, and we plan to implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.”
Update #5: On Tuesday, Corinne Olympios' lawyer Martin Singer released a statement to Bustle that read,
“It needs to be made crystal clear that production of 'Bachelor in Paradise' was shut down because of multiple complaints received from 'BIP' producers and crew members on the set. It was not shut down due to any complaint filed by Corinne against anyone. It comes as no surprise that Warner Bros., as a result of its own internal Investigation, would state that no wrong doing had occurred. Our own investigation will continue based on multiple new witnesses coming forward revealing what they saw and heard.”
Earlier: In a statement to Bustle, Warner Brothers, the show's production company, said this:
"We have become aware of allegations of misconduct on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico. We have suspended production and we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations. Once the investigation is complete, we will take appropriate responsive action."
It's not clear exactly what happened as neither party allegedly involved has spoken directly and the investigation is ongoing, but the claims from anonymous sources allege that something sexual occurred between DeMario, who was recently dropped from Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette, and a female contestant; according to two sources at People Magazine, the female contestant involved in this encounter may have been too drunk to give consent. TMZ suggests that this contestant was Corinne from Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor.
On social media, some frustrated fans have taken to blaming Corinne for the production shutdown, citing her sexual history and “attention seeking acts” to dismiss the notion that she could have been assaulted. “Didn't Corrine take her top off on Nicks season??” one Facebook user on the Bachelor Fans On Bustle page said. “The [sic] also said her vagina was platinum??? So why bring her back bc apparently she uses her body to get what she wants.”
It’s entirely possible that only producers of the show will ever know what happened that night. However, it’s now more important than ever to stress that a person’s sexual history should never, ever factor into any discussions of whether or not they are the victim of sexual assault. Corinne may have been presented in a sexually promiscuous manner during her season of The Bachelor, but if she was truly taken advantage of by a fellow BiP guest while too drunk to consent, she still deserves respect regardless.
For victims of sexual assault, this tendency towards victim-blaming often has real-world ramifications. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an average of 321,500 U.S. residents over the the age of 12 are the victims of rape and sexual assault each year, but only about one out of three rapes are reported to the police. Another study from University of Texas at Austin, found that of the 129 female college students who were sexual assault survivors, 62 percent blamed themselves for their own sexual assaults — which could also be contributing to the lack of reporting.
Again, what happened between Corinne and DeMario while filming Bachelor In Paradise is still not completely confirmed. But if you’ve already assumed it’s Corinne’s fault because she publicly celebrates her own sexual prowess, then I would urge you to sit down and really examine why your first instinct is to blame a woman for her own assault. Odds are, that impulse is not coming from a good place.