ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” is back for its delayed fourth season, and the returning cast members are offering their thoughts on the scandal that led production to temporarily shutdown.
On Tuesday’s second part of the Season 4 premiere, host Chris Harrison addressed the cast during a somber meeting after Warner Bros. briefly putting a halt to filming in June. Following allegations of misconduct, the studio’s investigation determined there was no wrongdoing in a much-debated sexual encounter between Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am to see everybody back here in Paradise,” Harrison told the cast, minus Olympios and Jackson, who did not return. “I hope everybody is ready to get back into Paradise and hopefully get back into the business of finding love.”
Harrison added that he wanted to have a “serious talk” about the allegations. He did not mention specifics of what happened between Olympios and Jackson, and ABC has decided not to air footage of the incident. But he asked the contestants if they agreed with Warner Bros.’ findings, and the consensus appeared unanimous that the result of the investigation is to be trusted.
“I was confident that nothing happened between DeMario and Corinne that was bad,” Raven Gates said.
Harrison asked the cast if they felt that race played a role in the scandal, and all respondents appeared to feel that it was indeed a factor.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Nick Benvenutti said about race playing a role.
Gates added that although she supported Jackson, she was not “slut-shaming” Olympios. She said that she herself was previously in an abusive relationship, and she hopes that the “Paradise” situation does not deter “actual victims” from speaking out.
Harrison then said that each contestant has a say in whether the season should resume, and that a majority vote was required to move forward. As it turned out, each person voted to continue.
“Bachelor in Paradise” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.