Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Sleazy, Alcohol-Fueled Environment of 'Bachelor in Paradise'

Alcohol was flowing freely on the set, with producers hoping to liberate their cast members, and drum up some excitement (any kind of excitement, apparently, as ratings are the ultimate ratio).

At LAT, "Alcohol, sex and consent: Add TV cameras and the 'Bachelor in Paradise' party gets complicated":
Before the cameras even started rolling, Chad Johnson was drunk. Not tipsy; hammered. By the time production on “Bachelor in Paradise” kicked off at 11 a.m. in Sayulita, Mexico, the reality star had already taken seven shots of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and downed a whole bottle of wine.

Because, he figured: Why not? He’d agreed to go on the third season of the spinoff of ABC’s “The Bachelor” because it seemed like a paid vacation, replete with bikini-clad women, a private beach and an open bar. Also, alcohol loosened him up — he wanted to be liked by his new cast mates, and when he drank, he felt like he was instantly funnier.

“Plus, when you’re filming the show, you have this adrenaline pump of being on TV, so you can drink more and are still capable of walking and talking,” Johnson, 29, explained. “There are points of time on the show where you’re still conscious, where in the real world, you would have been asleep somewhere 10 hours earlier.”

But no one on the production team put Johnson to bed. Instead, he passed out on the sand, as crabs crawled over his face. The next morning, he learned he engaged in an aggressive make-out session with one female cast member and hurled insults at another who was born with only one full arm. He was also told he’d soiled himself during his sleep.

Johnson’s behavior that night had consequences: Within hours, host Chris Harrison was dispatched to tell him he was no longer welcome on the show.


Heavy drinking is not uncommon on the “Bachelor” shows, with contestants sometimes becoming so intoxicated that they see the extent of their behavior only when it eventually airs on national television. Often, drunken antics are played for humor — there’s usually that one person who gets so sloshed at the “Bachelor” mansion on night one that they do something embarrassing in front of their potential husband or wife. But for the first time in the franchise's 15-year history, an incident fueled by on-set drinking has led to both public scrutiny and reports of internal policy changes regarding alcohol and sexual behavior.

On June 4, the first day of filming on “Paradise’s” fourth season at the Playa Escondida resort, a male and female contestant got drunk and had an encounter in the pool that the male said in a televised interview involved a sexual act.

At first, the incident seemed par for the course in “Paradise.” Contestants regularly get frisky in the open and have sex in bedrooms without doors — though the footage rarely shows anything too raunchy.

A couple of days later, though, the two contestants were pulled aside and told that two producers had filed third-party complaints with Warner Bros., the production company that produces the ABC show, related to the pool encounter. The entire cast was flown back to the U.S. On June 11, Warner Bros. released a statement announcing production had been suspended while it investigated claims of alleged misconduct.

The female contestant, Corinne Olympios, hired a high-profile Hollywood lawyer, Marty Singer, and issued her own statement. “Although I have little memory of that night,” the 24-year-old said, “something bad obviously took place.” The male contestant, 30-year-old DeMario Jackson, retained his own counsel and told his side of the story, including a detailed description of what he says was a consensual encounter, in a televised interview on E! News earlier this week.

On June 20, Warner Bros. announced that its internal investigation did not “support any charge of misconduct” or show that the “safety of any cast member was ever in jeopardy.” Production resumed last weekend with what Warner Bros. described as “certain changes to the show’s policies” to enhance participants’ safety.

Warner Bros. declined to elaborate on those changes, but on Tuesday, TMZ reported that the show had instituted a slew of new rules: Contestants must adhere to a two-drink-per-hour maximum, and before initiating sex, they must check with a producer tasked with making sure both parties are able to give consent.

Olympios said in a statement to The Times on Thursday that she was “happy” about the changes on the show. In the statement, she said her legal team had completed its investigation to her “satisfaction” and that she had no complaints about the production...
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