In early June 2017, just days after the fourth season of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise—the unruly cousin of the network’s beloved Bachelor franchise—began production, two inebriated contestants found themselves at the center of misconduct allegations after a sexual “encounter” precipitated an internal investigation, swift dismissals of both contestants, and ultimately, a halt to production.
Now, two women have accused one of those contestants, DeMario Jackson, of rape, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and an investigative report by the Los Angeles Times. As detailed in the document, both women—identified only as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2—allege that Jackson violently raped them after they went on dates with him in 2018 and 2020, following his time on the show.
Jane Doe 1, now 26, was just a senior at the University of Southern California when she connected with Jackson, who had already competed for Rachel Lindsey’s affection during Season 13 of The Bachelorette, on Bumble. She’d heard about Jackson’s Paradise allegations, but friends assured her he was above suspicion, pointing directly to the response of Corinne Olympios, the other contestant named in the misconduct investigation: “Corinne said nothing actually happened,” recalled Doe 1, in an interview.
For those unfamiliar with the show, a Paradise producer filed an internal report after an “intoxicated” Olympios and Jackson engaged in an “encounter” in the pool while filming in 2017. The show paused production indefinitely, with E! News reporting that all contestants had been sent home as Warner Brothers conducted an internal investigation into the incident.
The following day, conflicting reports of the incident emerged, with Jackson claiming Olympios prompted the sexual activity—allegedly oral sex, but not penetrative sex—while others—including a fellow contestant who spoke anonymously—adamantly disagreed. The contestant claimed that two other contestants witnessed the “encounter” and were upset that producers didn’t intervene immediately, as it was obvious she was too intoxicated to consent: “They could have seen that she was drinking too much and that he was taking advantage,” the contestant told People. “They could have stopped this before it got this far.” Soon after, sources “close to Olympios” told TMZ that she was in a “blackout state” and didn’t consent to—or remember—what happened between herself and Jackson. An anonymous crew member on the production affirmed that Olympios “appeared unconscious” via an interview with the Daily Mail:
“There was hugging and kissing and touching, but before long, she seemed to go limp and was sliding under water. Demario kept trying to hold her up and at the same time he appeared to be having intercourse with her. After he finished – which only lasted a few seconds – he lifted her out of the water and laid her on the cement, where he proceeded to have oral sex with her.”
The source continued:
“She appeared to be unconscious. At that point some of the crew came out and carried her off to her room. She was limp and seemed unable to walk on her own.”
By June 14, 1o days after the alleged assault, Olympios, who hired famed Hollywood attorney, Marty Singer, issued a statement:
“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. As I pursue the details and facts surrounding that night and the immediate days after, I have retained a group of professionals to ensure that what happened on June 4 comes to light and I can continue my life, including hiring an attorney to obtain justice and seeking therapy to begin dealing with the physical and emotional trauma stemming from that evening.”
In response, Jackson emphatically denied any wrongdoing in multiple interviews, telling Inside Edition that his character was “being assassinated.” Ultimately, the internal investigation cleared him of any misconduct and filming resumed—without Jackson and Olympios.
“This was the season of Paradise that looked like it might not happen,” former host Chris Harrison announced during the premiere. “Yes, there was trouble in Paradise.”
However, by the finale, when Olympios and Jackson reunited on stage to recant the controversy, the pair—particularly the former—had drastically changed their tunes: “Everybody felt like they were experts on our lives, and experts on the situation, and knew exactly what happened, and this and that. And they didn’t — nobody did,” Olympios said. After the season premiere aired, Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter: “I think people wanted it to be something different. They wanted the angry black guy and this little, innocent white girl. But it wasn’t that.”
It was because of this very public peacemaking that Jane Doe 1 felt comfortable going on a date with Jackson just eight months after Paradise aired. However, she alleged that when he drove her home at the end of the night, he kissed her and abruptly “exposed his penis,” according to the lawsuit. “Jane Doe 1 was shocked and felt trapped,” the complaint notes. “She was not ready for this meeting to escalate so quickly. In an attempt to set boundaries, Jane Doe 1 told Defendant that his behavior was unacceptable.” Jackson apologized and the pair continued seeing each other until one night, he became intoxicated and demanded to know her location while she was out with friends. She alleges that Jackson began “making a scene” when asked to pay a cover charge and she invited him to “sleep it off,” at her home.
Upon arriving at her apartment, Doe 1 alleged that she told him “there would be no sexual activity between them,” but as she herself laid down to sleep, she suddenly felt Jackson’s body on top of hers. She recalled pushing him off of her three times before he “pinned” her to the bed and violently forced his penis inside of her.
“I couldn’t move, so all I could think to do was to say, ‘No, no, stop!’ And he just ignored me. It was like he didn’t even hear me,” she told the Times. “I just kept thinking: ‘Just keep saying no. No one can ever take that away from you. If you’re going to die, you’ll know you fought the only way you could.’”
After he finished, Doe 1 told Jackson to “get the fuck out” and began frantically calling her family and friends from her locked bedroom. She filed a police report and received a sexual assault examination and STD testing at the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.
Soon after, she sought to obtain legal representation and in the process, discovered a second woman had alleged that Jackson raped her. Jane Doe 2 met Jackson in a train station where they made friendly conversation. She recalled his Paradise past but she, too, assumed by his public kinship with Olympios that he’d “changed.” Jackson asked the woman on a date after DMing on Instagram and suggested she come to his home as he claimed he would be recognized in public.
“It was kind of weird, but it didn’t raise that much of a red flag because I’ve been on dates to guys’ apartments where nothing bad has happened,” she told the Times.
Doe 2 recalled drinking wine and talking for hours with Jackson, and when they kissed goodnight, things quickly escalated. Though she told him she couldn’t have sex because she was menstruating, he continued to insist upon intercourse, suggesting anal. She agreed, but asked him to stop as it was too painful. Instead, he “grabbed her head and forced his penis into her mouth,” according to the lawsuit.
“He was holding me down with his whole body weight, and I started to kind of choke a little bit because I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “Somehow I eventually got my hands free and pushed him off. But then he started to have [vaginal] sex with me. I told him ‘no,’ and he said, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s just the tip.’”
The next day, she visited the same Rape Treatment Center as Doe 1 and discovered that her tampon had been lodged so deeply inside of her that tongs were required for its removal. A report from the medical facility provided to the Times denoted Doe 2’s diagnosis as “assault by other bodily force.” Unlike Doe 1, Doe 2 worked with LAPD detectives to get Jackson to admit to the assault. They advised Doe 2 to FaceTime with Jackson, question him in a way that prompts an admission, and record it.
“You’re sorry for putting yourself in me without my permission?” Doe 2 asked Jackson. “One hundred percent,” he replied. “I pride myself on reading people and knowing the situation and I’m so sorry.” Even still, the investigation was dropped. Both women now attend therapy and say they struggle with anxiety. Doe 1 has taken disability leave from work.
“When you go through a moment where you feel like you’re going to die, that moment doesn’t ever leave your body, mind or soul,” she told the Times. “I felt like I was going to die, and nobody cared. I’m going to make them care. If this moment was for nothing else, I just want it to help someone.”
Jackson’s attorney, Walter Mosley, said in a statement to Jezebel via his publicist that the women’s allegations are “completely unfounded.”
“As the Plaintiffs’ own complaint clearly states, the police, who DeMario fully cooperated with over 3 years ago, found these women’s accusations to have no merit and they refused to pursue the matter,” Mosley said. “In the days to come, we will release the evidence we shared with the police at the time of the alleged incidents. This complaint is riddled with inconsistencies, miss truths and actual impossibilities with respect to what could have happened during COVID lockdown. Unfortunately, DeMario and I will have to take up this fight again to clear his name.”