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'Bachelor in Paradise' cast talks race, consent and how bad they all feel for DeMario Jackson

Season 4 of "Bachelor in Paradise" premiered Monday. DeMario Jackson is third from left in the back row and Corinne Olympios is fifth from left in the front. (Paul Hebert / ABC)
Season 4 of "Bachelor in Paradise" premiered Monday. DeMario Jackson is third from left in the back row and Corinne Olympios is fifth from left in the front. (Paul Hebert / ABC)

Forget the rose ceremony: "Bachelor in Paradise" on Tuesday night included a consent ceremony. 

On its second episode of Season 4, the more casual incarnation of ABC's find-love-on-TV franchise addressed the allegations of misconduct that stopped production back in June.

What it didn't feature, however, beyond teasers and the interactions shown Monday night, were any new details about or footage of what actually went down between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson.

Basically, if you didn't follow the scandal as it unfolded, you weren't going to figure it out now. Cliffs Notes version: Man. Woman. Alcohol. Pool. Cameras. 

Before any talk of the perils of courtship, however, there was marriage. The wedding of Carly Waddell and Evan Bass, complete with romantic shots from previous Bachelor Nation weddings, took up the first 45 minutes of the two-hour program.

After that carrot came a 25-minute stick. 

Before getting, as Chris Harrison said, "back to the business of finding love," the cast (no longer including Olympios and Jackson) gathered solemnly with the host for a serious talk that included a few shots at the media for supposedly blowing things out of proportion

The "Paradise" participants defended the show's producers and crew and felt bad for Olympios and Jackson. Especially Jackson.

"The blame he was getting ... it broke my heart, because I thought, no matter if everything's cleared up, people are still going to associate something bad happening with Corinne and DeMario," said Raven Gates.  

Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images, left; Craig Sjodin / ABC)
Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images, left; Craig Sjodin / ABC)

Diggy Moreland, who like DeMario is a black man, said he empathized "a lot more" with him and worried about the "long-term effects" of Google searches that would follow Jackson through future job searches.

Prompted by Harrison, most cast members agreed that race played a part in the situation. Raven, who is white, talked about coming from the South, where "we have a stigma ... where seeing a black man with a white woman is wrong. That night, what happened wasn't wrong." She said she empathized especially with Jackson. 

Jasmine Goode, who is black, said she thought about what if this had happened to her brother. She and Raven both said that when they defended Jackson, they were definitely not "slut shaming" Olympios. 

The group blamed Olympios' "I am a victim" statement on lawyers who they said wanted to keep it vague. Or maybe she was trying to "save face."

As if it were a classroom, Harrison ran the cast through the consent drill. If someone is passed out, can they give consent? No. If somebody's drunk, can they give consent? Diggy talked about morning-after regrets, but said clouded judgment didn't preclude a person from giving the same consent they would have given while sober. (Incidentally, it turns out that during the sit-down, the cast fought back against new limits on alcohol consumption.)

Then, one by one, each cast member was asked to consent to being back in "Paradise," with the caveat that if enough people said no, the show would not go on. Unsurprisingly, with the better part on an hour left in the broadcast, everyone said yes. 

One. By. One. 

"I think there's a weird perception that exists out there that we're not in control of ourselves while we're here and that there's this puppet-master thing occurring," said Derek Peth, the guy who looks like John Krasinski in "The Office." "We all know how realistic the friendships are ... amongst the cast and then the crew and the producers."

"You guys aren't mindless robots?" Harrison said. 

Early in the sit-down, Taylor Nolan — who noted that she does not drink alcohol and testified that she'd never been urged to do so by anyone in production — defended reality TV as not being scripted, then spoke as if from a script: "We're responsible for ourselves and the things we say, how much we drink, who we kiss. We're responsible for all of it."

Peth chimed in: "Just like in the real world." 

And so it was that "Bachelor in Paradise" got back to the business of finding love. 

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