The Consent Conversation Surrounding 'Bachelor In Paradise' Matters Whether You Like The Show Or Not
You might think that you don't need to be a part of the conversation about the Bachelor in Paradise misconduct allegations. You might think that, just because you don't care for the franchise, you have nothing to gain from paying attention to them. But that's where you're wrong. Even without official details, this is still an important conversation, and it doesn't need to be restricted to Bachelor in Paradise. This situation has shed further light on the definition of consent, and that is always a worthwhile conversation.
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: According to reports from multiple outlets, production was shut down on Bachelor In Paradise Season 4 over an allegedly nonconsensual drunken sexual encounter. PEOPLE has two sources that claim that DeMario Jackson engaged in sexual activity with a female contestant who was allegedly too inebriated to consent. Sources who claim to have spoken to Jackson has talked to TMZ and raised no questions about his ability to consent. The sources provided alleged details of the reported encounter to the outlet, claiming that he remembers what took place. In contrast, sources allegedly close to the female cast member have told TMZ that she did not and could not give consent, as she was reportedly blackout drunk.
Bustle has reached out to ABC and both contestants involved for comment, but have yet to receive a response. The studio that produces Paradise, Warner Bros., released a statement to Bustle following the allegations: "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." And that's all we know for sure so far.
Now, there's been an evolution in the way we talk about consent in recent years. Consent isn't just about yes and no. It's also about the state in which a person gives that yes or no. Just because someone doesn't say "no" to something doesn't mean that person is comfortable with it happening. This is particularly true when alcohol is involved, because, after a certain level of inebriation, you might lose your physical ability to say "no" or even your mental awareness of what's happening to your body.
But with the introduction of the "enthusiastic yes" vocabulary (your partner should be as excited about what's about to happen as you are), things are a lot more clear. If you are not able to actively, enthusiastically participate in a sex act, you have not consented to it. Since Corinne alleges that she was blackout drunk when the incident with DeMario allegedly happened, she theoretically does not meet the criteria of an enthusiastic yes. Even if the hookup started while one party was a consenting, sober adult, if one member becomes so impaired in the process that that person can't give an enthusiastic yes, there is no longer consent for the sexual activity.
This conversation has become much more nuanced, and the way we process what constitutes consent is evolving to reflect that. We need to demand that both parties are in a position to say "yes." And, sure, this conversation is being highlighted by a silly reality show, but it really doesn't matter who starts the talking. The simple fact that we are now talking about it is what's important.
So, during this time, our focus should not be on when Paradise is coming back, or how annoying it is that filming has been canceled, or even why the hell everyone is talking about this bonkers reality show when there's real news to worry about. We should be focusing on the fact that this incident is forcing fans to focus on consent: how to give it and how to recognize it. Period.