Coming on the heels of a statement from Bachelor In Paradise 's Corinne Olympios about the alleged sexual assault that took place on the set, fellow contestant DeMario Jackson's lawyer has spoken to Variety,asserting his client's innocence.
Jackson's lawyer, Walter Mosley, said that he has not yet seen the tapes that show the alleged assault, and neither has Jackson. (Olympios and her lawyer have not seen the tapes, either). “I have requested the tapes and I’m hoping to see the tapes next week,” Mosley told Variety. “The tapes are the real facts needed to vindicate DeMario’s name.”
The accusation is that Olympios had been too drunk to consent to the sexual activity that occurred between her and Jackson while filming the show. In her statement, Olympios said, "I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4. Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production."
The fact that production was halted not by Olympios, but by production staff itself, is significant in this situation. It indicates that an outside observer watched the situation and was concerned about what they witnessed. It was initially reported that that the incident led one producer to "sue the production for misconduct" in the workplace, which is why filming halted.
In this interview, Jackson's lawyer claims both Olympios and the entire BiP production staff are in the wrong. “This is one of those rare occasions because they were shooting a reality television show. For 20 or 30 people to get it wrong or to miss something, for seasoned professionals over at Warner Bros. and ABC to get it wrong and for some third party who never saw the tape and who wasn’t on set at the time of the incident to make an accusation — as a lawyer, it’s like Christmas," he said (I'm sure it's not just us that there's something gross about a lawyer describing a sexual assault case as being "like Christmas.")
While we wait for more information regarding the alleged assault, there is an all too familiar narrative playing out in the press. There has been repeated attempts to discredit the alleged victim with Jackson's ex publicly defending him and another BiP contestant claiming that Olympios "forced herself" on multiple men that night.
In this case, it is complicated by race, as Sesali Brown pointed out this past week. "When a Black man is accused of sexually assaulting a white woman, history has a way of speaking for itself," she wrote. "The racist stereotype persists that Black men are criminal, and that their sexuality poses a threat to white women."
What is different about this case is that the entire thing was filmed, something Mosley noted to Variety. “As a lawyer, oftentimes, you’re in a case where it’s a he-said-she-said and there are parties with conflicting stories," he said, "and every once in a while, you’re gifted with a story that the entire thing is caught on camera."
However, knowing what we know about how sexual assault and rape cases usually play out, it can often still come down to he-said-she-said. In the case of Andrea Constand, who accused of Bill Cosby sexual assault, claims she was paralyzed by the pills he gave her and unable to stop Cosby from assaulting her. In a 2005 and 2006 deposition used in court, Cosby claimed Constand was not negatively affected by the Benadryl pills he gave her, and that she never objected to his behavior. The case ended in a mistrial, though, the prosecutor announced in court that he will retry Cosby.
Jackson's lawyer believes the tapes will lead to justice for his client, who he says is the victim in this situation. “This has caused a lot of trauma — both physical and emotional injury,” Mosley said. “It’s been difficult for DeMario and his family. He’s a celebrity for all the wrong reasons.”
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