DeMario Jackson opened up about the Bachelor in Paradise sexual misconduct scandal in a new interview, claiming race played a factor in the ABC reality series' headline-making summer.
"I think people wanted it to be something different," the reality star, 30, told The Hollywood Reporter in a candid profile published on Thursday, August 17. "They wanted the angry black guy and this little, innocent white girl. But it wasn't that."
As previously reported, a producer filed a misconduct complaint in June after an alleged sexual encounter between Jackson and castmate Corinne Olympios, both of whom had been drinking, occurred on set. Warner Bros. Television immediately suspended production and launched an investigation. Nearly two weeks later, the production company concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct. The cast, sans Jackson and Olympios, returned to Mexico to resume filming in the days following.
"If I would have been [white contestants] Alex [Woytkiw] or Derek [Peth], we wouldn't even be having this conversation," Jackson told THR. "I would probably be engaged to Alexis [Waters] right now."
The executive recruiter also claimed that the scandal wouldn't have happened if Olympios, 25, were black. "This wouldn't have been a story," he said. "We wouldn't even be having this discussion at all. ... I had white America calling me the N-word and telling me to 'go back to Africa.' And they were slut-shaming Corinne, which sucked. For me, I'm just sitting here thinking, 'Wow. Our world.' The human race continues to let me down."
In the second episode of Paradise, host Chris Harrison sat down with the cast and addressed the situation upon their return to the resort. Many of them agreed that race influenced the scandal. Interviews with Jackson and Olympios will be featured in upcoming episodes.
Bachelor in Paradise airs on ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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