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:
Update #3: On the evening of Wednesday, June 14, Jackson released a statement about Olympios' allegations to E! News:
Update #4: On June 20, an ABC spokesperson provided the following statement to Bustle:
Warner Bros.' statement to Bustle read,
Update #5: On Tuesday, Corinne Olympios' lawyer Martin Singer released a statement to Bustle that read,
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.