Chris Harrison on Bachelor in Paradise Drama: 'Drunk and Stupid Does Not Make Good TV'
"There will be some adjustments made and we're going to be very verbal about it," Harrison told PEOPLE
In the wake of the Bachelor in Paradise scandal that caused a halt to production due to what Warner Bros. called a “misconduct” in June, Chris Harrison is now opening up about the changes that have been made to the reality series.
“I know people want us to say there have been massive changes, but you’re not going to see sweeping changes,” the longtime ABC host told PEOPLE at The Bachelorette: Men Tell All taping. “We’ve learned from this. There will be some adjustments, but again, our cast has always been most important. Alcohol has never – that’s such a misconception that they rely on it. Drunk and stupid doesn’t help us. It doesn’t make good TV. Stories do. People being compelling.”
He added, “There will be some adjustments made and we’re going to be very verbal about it, but as you see the season go on, you’re going to see we’re right back to Paradise.”
In June, production was suspended after producers raised concerns about a sexual encounter between contestant DeMario Jackson, 30, and Corrine Olympios, 24, both of whom had reportedly been drinking heavily all day. Filming on the fourth season of Bachelor in Paradise had stopped due to what the production company called a “misconduct.”
Days after production was shut down by Warner Bros. to investigate the “misconduct” and the contestants were sent home, Olympios and Jackson both released statements.
“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,” Olympios said in a statement to PEOPLE via her rep.
Like Olympios, Jackson also retained legal counsel, and said in his statement, “It’s unfortunate that my character and family name has been assassinated this past week with false claims and malicious allegations. I will be taking swift and appropriate legal action until my name is cleared and, per the advice of legal counsel, will be seeking all available remedies entitled to me under the laws.”
Warner Bros. said in a statement that the company “does not intend to release the videotape of the incident,” but insisted that they “plan to implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.”
Harrison also weighed in on the situation in a previous statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“By now, no doubt, you have heard that we have suspended production on this season’s Bachelor in Paradise. I can confirm to you that this is sadly the case. Out of respect to all involved, there’s only so much I can and will say at this time. Normally with a situation like this I would not say anything until the incident is fully resolved, but with all the rumors and misinformation being put out there, I don’t find that to be possible anymore,” Harrison’s statement began.
“Let me start by saying the safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us. It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming. An investigation into the situation was started immediately,” the statement continued. “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.”
“There are a lot of competing details in the various press accounts of the incident. And there’s a lot of misinformation out there too. We urge everyone to be patient until the investigation is complete,” said Harrison.
The statement concluded: “I know in this day and age we want — and even expect — immediate answers, but in this case, it’s just not possible. So again, I urge you to please be patient and respect the privacy of the parties involved. I will keep you as informed and up to date as I possibly can. We’re sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment this may have caused the cast, the crew and our loyal fans. It is my sincere hope that we can come to a quick resolution on this and get back to work very soon.”
Two weeks after production was shut down, and after Warner Bros. announced that its investigation was complete and concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct, Olympios announced that she would not be taking legal action in the wake of the scandal.
“In light of the overwhelming amount of misinformation that has been spread in the media, I want to clarify a few things. My intent over the past few weeks has been to learn and understand what happened on June 4. While I never filed complaints or accusations against anyone associated with Bachelor in Paradise, my team and I felt it was very important to be thorough in getting to the bottom of what had occurred,” Olympios said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“I felt victimized by the fact that others were judging me through conflicting and unsubstantiated reports, while I myself had no recollection of the events that transpired,” Olympios continued.
“My team’s investigation into this matter has now been completed to my satisfaction. I am also happy about the changes that have been made to the production of Bachelor in Paradise. While I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been a participant on The Bachelor, and while I was invited to return to Bachelor in Paradise when production resumed, I respectfully made the decision not to return,” the statement continued.
She concluded: “I understand the media’s interest in this story, and I greatly appreciate my fans’ concerns for my well-being, but I think it is best if I keep any further thoughts private for now.”
Though neither Jackson or Olympios returned as castmembers on season 4 of BiP when the series resumed filming, they will be appearing on the reunion special, which will be televised later this summer.
Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise will kick off its two-night premiere on Monday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m., and continue on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m., both on ABC.