After a strange group chat with some of the cast and an unnecessary but adorable ultrasound with Carly Waddell and Evan Bass, Chris Harrison sat down with DeMario Jackson and asked him to describe the first couple of days of Paradise filming from his point of view.
"We got turnt up," DeMario said of him and Corinne Olympios. "We're at the bar, we're hanging out, one thing leads to another, and we're making out. I'm like, oh wow, Paradise is going."
Just an hour into filming, DeMario says it was Corinne's idea to get in the pool.
"I mean, who would say no to Corinne?" he said. "One thing leads to another and the pool gets a little intense, and I didn't think anything of it."
DeMario said that everything was "100%" OK in his mind after the encounter in the pool.
"The end of the first day, it ended with Alexis and I throwing coconuts into the ocean at like 3:00 in the morning," he said. "The next day was fine. Actually Corinne and I discussed about how she knows how to bake pies. We found out we have mutual friends who live in the same building. We spoke, we had great breakfasts...I never once thought that I would be here, today, speaking to you guys, in the middle of a crazy scandal. Never once."
DeMario said that a producer explained to him that the shutdown was because a third party submitted a complaint about him and Corinne. He was immediately concerned that he or Corinne had said something that caused the complaint, but that wasn't the case.
"Then why are we having this conversation?" he asked. "I'm not complaining, she's not complaining, it's on tape, people were walking by, people were witnessing all of this happening, then why are we having this conversation?"
The producer explained it like it were an HR issue at a workplace.
"Like if you hear something, they have to do something about it," he said.
While Jackson did not believe he did anything wrong, he said that the incident made him take a look at himself after how he came off on The Bachelorette.
"It was time for me to look at the man in the mirror and be like, damn, maybe I need to get my s—t together more," he said.
DeMario described life after the news of the scandal broke, during which he was hounded by reporters and often portrayed as a victim. One article that particularly bothered him described a graphic scene in which he had his way with a limp Corinne while her friends were not allowed to intervene.
"I know who I am," he said. "I know I'm not that monster that they're trying to portray on TV. Like Michelle Obama said, when they go low, you go high. It was hard to go high, but I had to do it because I train and mentor children, and I can't tell them to be something that I'm not. That kept me going."
Corinne and DeMario haven't spoken "for obvious reasons," but that's one thing DeMario says he wishes were different.
"I wish we could have spoke," he said. "I felt bad for her because she was being slut-shamed. I love my mother, I love the women in my family more than anything in this world, and it just hurt me just knowing that she probably was going through the same thing that I was, but a little bit more, a little bit more aggressive and intense, and just to kind of reach out and just be like, look, I'm here if you want to chat."
Corinne will sit down with Harrison in next week's Tuesday episode, and once again we find ourselves wishing that these were the conversations the show opened with, instead of Chris Harrison endlessly teasing dramatic moments. It's not fair to us, it's not fair to either Corinne or DeMario, and it's
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.