DeMario Jackson gave his first interview to E! News on Monday, two weeks after he made headlines for an alleged incident that shut down production on Bachelor in Paradise Season 4.
Jackson and Corinne Olympios were the two Bachelor in Paradise cast members at the center of alleged sexual misconduct that caused the ABC reality show to suspend production on June 11. For the first time since, Jackson told his side of his sexual encounter with Olympios.
Last week, Warner Bros., the studio that produces the Bachelor franchise for ABC, said its investigation into the incident turned up no improprieties, and that the show would resume filming. Jackson will not be returning. And what was filmed between Jackson and Olympios will never be released, according to Warner Bros.
In his interview with E!, Jackson said he met Olympios on the first day of production, and, having both been branded as "villains" during their respective seasons of The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, they bonded over drinks at the bar at the resort where the show was filming. "I was like, 'Look, I've accepted this role,'" Jackson said. "We were laughing, like, 'We're going to dominate Paradise." (A representative for Olympios told BuzzFeed News "we are not make any statements or issuing any comments" in response to Jackson's account of the incident.)
According to Jackson, they soon began kissing and Olympios suggested that they go to the pool. Jackson said he made sure they were being filmed at that point. "Because when you're a man, mostly an African-American man, no matter where you're at, you always look for things that can help you out," he said. "And at that moment, I made sure the cameras followed us."
E!'s Melanie Bromley asked several times whether Olympios seemed drunk, and Jackson said she didn't. He called her the "aggressor," and said that they were naked in the pool. Jackson said things progressed between them: "I get out of the pool, and I have my legs in the pool, and I'm kind of just hanging out. This is when she gets up out of the pool and puts her lady parts, like, right on my face. I don't know if I can say that."
Bromley again asked whether Olympios appeared to be drunk, or whether she was slurring. "No, I mean, I don't even know sober girls who can do what she did. She, like, straddled me," Jackson said. But, he said, "Don't get me wrong. That night, we went for it. That night was probably the wildest night of my entire life. Like, we went for it."
As Jackson spoke, E! News showed pictures of Olympios in still photos, including in revealing clothes, as well as footage of her during the recent season of The Bachelor.
When asked about reports that Olympios kissed three other men on that first day, Jackson said he saw her with Derek Peth, and heard about two others, but "didn't personally see the other two."
Jackson said the next day, the cast woke up "hungover, dying." He said: "One of the first people I see was Corinne. We were, like, talking, I gave her a hug. We all went up and got breakfast together."
Bromley mentioned the allegations that Olympios had blacked out the night before. Did she seem at all angry at him? "She wasn't mad," Jackson said. "We, like, were hanging out. Actually, I offered her a shot, but she said that production had cut her off from drinking for the day."
The Bachelor franchise is known for the contestants' largely unfettered drinking. In Warner Bros.' statement last week announcing the results of its investigation, the studio did add, "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," without specifying what those changes might be.
Jackson said it wasn't until three days after the incident in question that a producer pulled him aside and pressured him to quit the show. "He goes, 'Here's what I'm going to need you to do. I'm going to need you to bow out," Jackson recalled. "Tell Chris [Harrison, the show's host] and the crew that you love them, you're thankful, however you're not here for the right reasons.' I'm, like, 'What the [fuck].' He goes, 'I can't tell you what I know, but it's gonna be bad if you don't leave tonight.'"
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. had no comment when BuzzFeed News asked about Jackson's version of events.
Complaints from two crew members prompted the investigation that led to the suspension of production. The studio's statement on June 20 about its findings read in part: "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."
In the wake of the shutdown, Olympios released a statement, saying: “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."
After Warner Bros. revealed the results of its investigation, Olympios's lawyer, Martin Singer, cast doubt on the studio's findings, and stated that "our own investigation will continue based on multiple new witnesses coming forward revealing what they saw and heard."
Part 2 of Jackson's E! interview will air Tuesday night, and presumably Jackson will say why he didn't quit the show, and provide his side of the production shutdown.