'Bachelor in Paradise' host Chris Harrison talks sex scandal's impact and how "journalism is dead"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/17/2017
Bachelor in Paradise host Chris Harrison is looking back on the last two months of the show's huge scandal and sharing his opinions on how poorly journalists covered the events as well as what happens next.
Although Chris wasn't exactly surprised by all the speculation that surrounded the Bachelor in Paradise incident involving Season 4 cast members Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, the host confessed to Variety in an interview that he was disgusting by the media and press.
"It's just the world we live in. I'm a parent. I'm used to saying things that fall on deaf ears. All you can do is ask for people's patience. In this day and age, things are decided in minutes," Chris said of all the reports and rumors.
"What really astounded me was the level of incompetence -- things that were said and printed by quote-unquote reputable media, and reputable print, and even TV. It was incredible to me the things that were said out loud about Corinne, about DeMario, about the show that were so outlandish, so false, and completely fabricated."
Production of Bachelor in Paradise was temporarily suspended in June so that Warner Bros. could conduct a thorough investigation into a producer's allegation of misconduct on the set in regards to a drunken hookup between Corinne and DeMario. (No evidence of misconduct was ultimately found).
Chris suggested the subjects, or alleged victims, of the controversy were not treated with care or handled with sensitivity in public considering sexual assault is an extremely serious matter.
"There are people's lives in the balance that could have easily been destroyed. The fact that you can clearly see that journalism is dead, and long gone on every level -- whether it's the network, whether it's print... it's really sad. To see it firsthand it really is amazing," he said.
The scandal prompted candid conversations about substance abuse, sexual conduct, and race.
"In my opinion, having been in the middle of this, we have always been at the forefront of social issues throughout the years. When we decided to do The Bachelorette, that was a big deal. I know it seems so silly and benign now, but honestly, from day one, The Bachelor has always been pushing social issues," Chris explained to Variety.
"Even [Kaitlyn Bristowe] being slut shamed... cyber bullying... we've dealt with it all. Now, you're just seeing it in a more noticeable way because it is such a big deal. But we've always sparked those conversations. Is it the right place or the wrong place? Who knows? Who's to say?"
Chris said he believes those conversations are part of what makes the franchise, and Bachelor in Paradise in particular, so great.
"We're trying to make a show that entertains, but it's not lost on us, the social impact that we have," Chris said.
The Bachelor in Paradise scandal was finally addressed on Monday and Tuesday night's premiere event of Season 4. Not only did the cast discuss the situation in-depth, but footage was shown of Corinne and DeMario flirting in a pool at Playa Escondida in Mexico.
However, the actual sexual encounter in question did not air, as Chris explained, "The event that raised the allegations happened later. What we wanted to show is that they spent a lot of time together throughout the day. That [time in the pool that aired] happened within the first few hours of being there. That's how quickly they hit it off."
Corinne and DeMario's hookup was caught on tape, according to the show host, but producers agreed it was "in everyone's best interest" not to air the material on ABC.
"There was nothing to be gained from showing it. I stand behind that decision 100 percent. I think we will show enough for everyone to form their opinion. You will see both Corinne and DeMario get the opportunity to separately sit down with me and give their sides of the story," Chris noted.
"I told them, 'This is your chance to say whatever you want... no holds barred... go. This is your forum.'"
As far as how the controversy will impact the rest of the season, Chris said time constraints in the filming process due to the brief shutdown in production will impact how quickly relationships develop in Paradise.
"Everything fell right back in line [with the cast] and it was fantastic. [But] you can't just pick back up. We had to reimagine everything we were doing. When you consider we plan all year for these shows, to throw everything in the fire and start over -- I would dare and challenge any production to try to pull that off," Chris told Variety.
"It will be a very condensed schedule. In the finale, the show will continue outside of Paradise. Some relationships were still going and still brewing. I will be finding out a lot things along with the viewer," Chris revealed.