On Tuesday night’s Bachelor in Paradise, host Chris Harrison interrupted your scheduled programming of drunken spit and bed swapping for A Very Special Sit-Down with Corinne Olympios, one of the subjects of the sexual misconduct investigation that nearly shutdown the series earlier this summer.
For the interview, Olympios, who first appeared on the Nick Viall series of The Bachelor, entered the Bachelor soundstage sheepishly and repeatedly professed how nervous she was to—for the first time—be publicly discussing the sexual encounter that got her and fellow contestant DeMario Jackson removed from Bachelor in Paradise after two producers expressed concern that at least one of the pair was not sober enough to consent. (Jackson has since given several interviews on the topic.)
Explaining her state of sobriety the night she and Jackson engaged in sexual activities, Olympios told Harrison—as it had been reported that she would—that she was taking an unnamed medication that she was not supposed to use with alcohol, though she did not realize it at the time.
“The first day, unfortunately, I don’t remember much of,” she said. “I definitely over-drank. I did. I was also on some medication that you’re not supposed to drink on that I didn’t know. And, you know, the combination of the two...it’s not a good combination.”
Why then, Harrison asked, did she seem so normal?
“It can look like you’re totally present and you’re totally there,” Olympios responded. “And your mind is not anywhere near. It impairs your judgment. It completely imbalances you. It’s just crazy.”
As for whether or not she blames Jackson for what happened, she says no:
“I honestly don’t feel like he did anything wrong, especially because everyone thought I was having fun and being Corinne. There’s just no way for you guys to know, ‘She’s, like, mentally checked out. Corinne is not here right now,’ which is beyond scary. But it is what it is, I guess. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault.”
At the end of the interview, Olympios blamed “the media” for the situation, saying, “I really want people to know, I don’t blame DeMario. I’m not the one pointing fingers at DeMario, I never said a bad word about DeMario. I don’t even know what to call it. It’s just so heart-sinking to go through something like that...Obviously hindsight is 20/20 and I just wish it could have been handled differently.” She doubled-down on those comments in interviews with Good Morning America and People, explaining to the latter that she had originally called herself a “victim” not because she was a victim of sexual misconduct, but because she was “a victim of having something this serious happen to you and have the media paint you a certain way that you know you aren’t and having all these people make their judgments and comments and they don’t even know what happened or went on.”
“I was really a victim of the media,” she told GMA.
In her interview with Harrison, Olympios also ended up apologizing to Jackson (who had his one-on-one with Harrison last week), telling the host, “I would want to tell him, ‘Listen, I respect you as a human. I have nothing against you. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. I know exactly what it feels like. I had to go through it, too. And I wish you all the best and I’m just...I’m sorry.”
Olympios is right that it’s not Jackson’s fault, nor is it hers. While the public might be quick to blame one of the two (something made more complicated by the fact that Olympios is white and Jackson is black), the true fault lies with Bachelor in Paradise and its producers who’ve fostered an environment in which drunk sexual encounters are not only frequent, but expected, and medications or other outside factors affecting the cast members’ mood and stability are apparently not taken into account. Last week, current cast members discussed how they were able to skirt the new two-drink an hour rule without any apparent repercussions, with contestant Robby Hayes explaining, “If it was two drinks an hour, we’d grab one at 3:50, one at 3:55, then [it was a] new hour at 4:00. We’d grab one at 4:00, and one at 4:05, then you have four drinks within 15 minutes.” And Danielle Lombard suggested that the requirement that contestants had to tell the producers they were consenting to a sexual encounter “kind of kills the moment,” suggesting that the way the show is structured doesn’t actually jibe with best sexual practices.
While Olympios, Jackson, and Harrison are all quick to blame the omnipresent, vague “Media,” an entity Bachelor in Paradise was willing to exploit to promote this season as one of the series’ most scandalous, what they’re really doing is continuing to exonerate the show of any and all responsibility.
“It was an honor to be asked to come to Paradise,” Olympios said immediately after sitting down, knowing (like Jackson) not to bite the hand that feeds.