After production was abruptly halted on Bachelor in Paradise in June, it seemed unlikely that the show would return. The issue of consent was at the center of the controversy that shut down production and an investigation ultimately concluded that there was no wrongdoing on DeMario Jackson's part.
Last night's season premiere ended with producers shutting down production as Corinne and DeMario were each guided away for private conversations. In Tuesday's episode, the cast (minus Corinne and DeMario) returned and host Chris Harrison sat down with all of them to address the issue of consent.
When asked about the incident that dominated entertainment news this summer, the cast's consensus was that they felt sorry for both Corinne and DeMario. They agreed it was blown out of proportion on social media, DeMario was accused of something he didn't do, and Corinne was wrongfully slut-shamed.
When Harrison asked if he believed race played a role, the consensus was yes. Raven explained there's a stigma in the south that a black man can't date a white woman, and explained why she and Jasmine Goode defended DeMario throughout the investigation.
"People automatically assumed we were slut-shaming Corinne, and that was not the case at all," Raven explained. "Our worry was for DeMario's name and the longevity of the allegations that were being tossed around about him. That's what we were concerned about. We felt for her. It was never calling her any names or judging her for anything she did, because we didn't think she did anything wrong, and neither did DeMario."
Although many social media users have taken issue with a statement released by Corinne in which she labeled herself a victim, the cast agreed that it sounded like the words came from a lawyer and not Corinne herself.
Raven added that she hopes the incident doesn't deter sexual assault survivors from coming forward.
"I was in a very abusive relationship, and there was a point where I was sexually assaulted, so I guess that's why I took this kind of really personally," she said. "So I hope this situation doesn't deter actual victims from coming forward and really speaking their truth and getting help and asking for help. I hope this doesn't deter anybody."
Viewers praised Raven for sharing her story and sending such an important message.
Ben Zorn noted that continuous consent is key. "Because somebody gives consent in the beginning doesn't mean that they can't have — they can't have the right to say no at any point, so consent needs to be throughout everything."
Although some viewers were bored with the conversation, others were grateful it was addressed and said they learned from it.