While the media has focused on "Bachelor in Paradise" contestants DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, who are the center of the sex scandal that has shut down the show for now, a reality TV producer says the "smoking gun" behind its suspension really involves ABC and producer Warner Horizon's role in the alleged incident.
Variety spoke with the producer, who hasn't worked on the "Bachelor" franchise, but has produced similar shows.
The producer said that while one or more contestants could be at fault here in the case of an drunken fling gone too far, which is what has been alleged by sources close to the set, the real reason ABC and Warner would shut down production lies with the failure of their own producers and crew.
The reality TV producer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, laid out why this alleged sexual misconduct is especially unusual and has big consequences for ABC and its producers.
"My concern about this situation is that if the person was beyond a point of making her choices and was still being shot and being put into this scenario, it's a very weird situation," the producer said. "When you talk about sexual assault, it's almost always just two people alone and it becomes a he-said-she-said situation. This is the most unusual situation, because not only is there a third party, but there are cameras that watched everything that happened and everything that led up to what happened."
And while ABC and Warner contestant contracts make sure to cover the companies against anything that happens to and between contestants during their time shooting, that can surely be challenged in the case of incidents that included recklessness by producers.
"That, to me, is the smoking gun as to why a franchise worth hundreds of millions of dollars was shut down," the producer concluded.
"Bachelor" host Chris Harrison gestured to the production's responsibilities toward the cast and crew in his statement on Tuesday.
"Let me start by saying the safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us," Harrison said. "It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming. An investigation into the situation was started immediately. Warner Bros. is handling the details of that investigation. They're moving quickly to gather all the facts, and once that's done, a clear, concise decision can be made about where we go from here."
A producer reportedly filed a complaint after witnessing the alleged incident, after which the investigation was started. As of yet, no charges have been filed with law enforcement, but both Olympios and Jackson have said they have sought legal counsel. ABC and Warner may have quite a legal battle ahead of them.
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