Reality shows thrive on shocking plot twists, and here’s a big one: Bachelor in Paradise is back on.
Filming of the season was shut down earlier this month and the cast sent home after reports of sexual misconduct on the set began to surface. Reports ranged from a third-party complaint filed by a producer who was witness to a “raunchy” swimming-pool hookup to the far more serious charge that Corinne Olympios had been plied with alcohol to the point of losing consciousness, and fellow contestant DeMario Jackson sexually assaulted an unconscious Olympios while the cameras continued to roll. Olympios did not speak on the record, but anonymous sources close to her told publications she was too drunk to remember what happened, let alone to have given her consent, and an anonymous crew member gave the Daily Mail a detailed account in which Olympios “appeared to be unconscious.”
Regardless of how the allegations shook out, one thing seemed certain: Bachelor in Paradise was over. The specter of sexual assault had undermined the show’s underlying promise of freewheeling sex to the extent that it would make enjoying future episodes all but impossible. As Slate’s Christina Cauterucci wrote, “A premise that depends on a total break from the reality of romance may crumble when viewers finally get a glimpse behind the scenes.”
Warner Bros. apparently disagrees. A statement released today reads, in part:
[…] Our internal investigation, conducted with the assistance of an outside law firm, has now been completed. Out of respect for the privacy interests of those involved, we do not intend to release the videotape of the incident. We can say, however, that the tape does not support any charge of misconduct by a cast member. Nor does the tape show, contrary to many press reports, that the safety of any cast member was ever in jeopardy. Production on this season of Bachelor in Paradise will be resuming, and we plan to implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.
Jackson and Olympios are not as yet commenting on whether they will be returning with the rest of the cast—although at least in Olympios’ case, it would seem extremely unlikely. Whether Bachelor in Paradise’s audience will return also remains up in the air.