Jenner thought it would be fun to go to prom with Albert Ochoa, a kid from Sacramento who needed a date. When she arrived at the venue, the music stopped and she was swarmed by the attendees, leading her and Ochoa to have to spend the night sequestered from everyone else, including Ochoa’s friends.
It’s rare to meet a character as truly despicable as Philip Krauss in Detroit, the young white police officer and maniacal perpetrator of the Algiers Motel killings in the midst of the 1967 Detroit riot. After a starter pistol shot is mistaken for a sniper from one motel window, Krauss forces the six black men and two white women in the motel’s back annex against the wall in a small hallway. He yells at them to pray as he interrogates them about the nonexistent sniper’s whereabouts while tears roll down their cheeks. One by one, he takes them into a room, questions them, and when he doesn’t get the answers he wants, he fires a shot and whispers in their ear to be quiet “or the next one’s for real,” leading those left standing to believe their friends are bleeding out in various motel rooms. The film spends at least an hour showing Krauss harassing, beating, and brutalizing these people in a wicked death game that ends in the murder of three of the young men, next to whom the police place their own knives to falsify evidence that their black victims were armed.
After watching the brutality of Detroit, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to play Krauss — a composite character based on the real officers in the motel that night who were never found guilty of any crimes. But 24-year-old British actor Will Poulter, who took on the role, felt that the story was more important than any backlash he could face for playing an intolerable racist. “I think to turn down this responsibility would have done a disservice to the overall message of this movie, which could really impact social change,” he told BuzzFeed News in New York the Tuesday morning before Detroit’s wide release. “As a young artist, the opportunity to be part of a film that actually is a reflection of reality, which sheds light on a true story, which, you know, could contribute towards critical awareness and empathy and understanding — it’s such a massive, massive, massive opportunity.”
He took a breath before adding, “There’s a good chance that this might be the most socially impactful film I’m ever a part of.”
Poulter has a careful, thoughtful, pause-filled delivery, indicating he’s already been through the gauntlet of questions that come with Detroit. When discussing his reaction to seeing the film versus the reactions of his black castmates, for example, he said, “I certainly haven’t been treated unfairly by the police, and that’s something that I recognize, and that’s another thing about being part of this film is that I’ve learned a lot about my own white privilege and what that is.
“I am shameful about the fact that it took this movie for me to truly understand, like a lot of white people,” he added. “The conversation about race was awkward and I was interested to learn, but I didn’t do the research myself really until I came to be a part of this project.”
Audiences are introduced to Krauss — who shares similarities with real-life Officer David Senak, as well as the late former DPD patrolmen Ronald August and Robert Paille — when he unremorsefully fires shotgun shells into the back of a looter played by Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris). It’s a scene Poulter noted closely mirrors the recent shootings of unarmed black men like Walter Scott — but unlike Williams’ character, the closest Scott came to committing a crime when police stopped him was having a broken taillight. “In a lot of these cases where African-American people are killed by the police, there’s no robbery whatsoever,” Poulter said. “In fact, there’s no crime to be spoken of, and that’s the scariest thing.”
When asked why he thought Krauss decided to be a police officer in the first place, considering it’s a profession with a motto to protect and to serve, Poulter said, “because he actively wanted to impose his racist rhetoric.” “Krauss was one of those racist, ignorant, bigoted white individuals who saw any nonwhite person, any person of color, as being part of an invasion on the city that he loved and wanted to protect and keep white,” he said. “Any racist is ignorant and misguided, and it’s just very, very, very tragic when someone of that psychology is put in a position of power, and that’s exactly what he is as a police officer.”
Prior to working on Detroit, Poulter was attached to the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s It as the murderous clown Pennywise, when Cary Fukunaga was still helming the project. Poulter ended up leaving the project shortly after Fukunaga did, but his early conversations with the director contributed to how he played Krauss. “We were talking about this idea of cosmic evil versus human evil, and I think through those conversations, I learned that it was important to humanize my characters,” Poulter said. “Krauss was important to make human because if he was this sort of vessel for this kind of supernatural hatred that he possesses, then I wouldn’t be making an accurate comment on the fact that there are individuals operating in our society who really do feel this way about their fellow human beings based on something as arbitrary as the color of someone’s skin.”
But, to be clear, Poulter’s intention wasn’t to make audiences feel compassion for Krauss. “I didn’t want anybody to empathize with him — and to be honest, I’d be concerned if anyone did,” he said. “But it was important to make him human so that it was transferable to real life and people’s own microenvironments.”
Early screenings for Detroit have elicited strong reactions from black critics, some of whom walked out of the movie, deeming it “the equivalent of watching the Facebook Live video of Philando Castile taking his final breath … for two hours.” Some of those who’ve seen it have wondered, “Who is this film for?” and “Did the right people tell this story?” seeing as director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal are white. Coming to Bigelow’s defense, Poulter said, “I think she’s used her white privilege and her platform as an artist to tell a story that will hopefully draw in the widest audience possible, and I really respect her for that.” (Bigelow and Boal were not available to be interviewed by BuzzFeed News.)
The actor also stressed that Detroit is a film for everybody. “I think we need to all develop our sense of understanding and empathy. It’s important that we all come to terms on history and our individual roles within history — and is there anything more important than race relations on planet Earth?”
In screenings of Detroit, Poulter said he’s seen that after audiences get past their initial shock and silence, the floodgates seem to open for conversations about the incident and how it reflects present-day racial tensions. “All the way through preproduction, all the way through shooting, all the way through post, and up until now, we’ve just had discussion after discussion after discussion. Even in between interviews, when I take a lunch break or have a coffee, or I’m in a car on the way to whatever… we’re talking about the movie,” Poulter said. “It’s amazing to be part of something that, you know, as painful as it is for some people, as shameful as it is for others, it’s encouraging conversation, and it’s engaging people in the dialogue that we have to all partake in.”
As he’s traveled the world to talk about Detroit, Poulter said he’s seen people from Brazil, Australia, and other countries engage in similarly complex conversations about the film. “[Detroit] is an American tragedy,” he said. “But I think the relevance is not solely American … It’s global.”
They form an independent nation called New Colonia that continues to have “a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming ‘Big Neighbor,’ both ally and foe, the United States. The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc.” When the series begins, New Colonia has become a major industrialized nation, while the US is on the decline.
Drumming said he wasn’t sure of Scaramucci’s intentions investing in the project, and had some “uncomfortable conversations” with him about it. But upon finishing the film, which was distributed by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY (then AFFRM), Scaramucci told Drumming that if he “ever made the money to pay [Scaramucci] back, that [he] should, instead, roll it back into [his] next film.”
Since she was 4 years old, Raven-Symoné has been a television staple. But she’d always been the precocious step-granddaughter (Olivia on The Cosby Show), the bratty niece (Nicole on Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper), or the bubbly best friend (Nebula in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century) — until, of course, That’s So Raven premiered on Disney Channel in 2003.
The show became a megahit: It was Disney Channel’s first series to get past the standard 65 episodes for a live-action children’s show, going on to last 100 episodes; it was the channel’s first original series to spawn a spinoff (Cory in the House, which premiered in 2007); and it earned two Emmy nominations. Raven-Symoné herself became one of Disney’s most valuable players, picking up projects like a supporting voice role on its hit animated series Kim Possible, starring in its original movie musical franchise Cheetah Girls, and even appearing alongside Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews in the Princess Diaries sequel.
During That’s So Raven‘s unprecedentedly long run, the actor was inspired by comedic titans like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Tracy Ullman in portraying her psychic character Raven Baxter’s disguises and pratfalls as she tried to solve whatever problem her visions of the future implied would happen. And she pulled it off. “Raven is the closest television has come to a modern-day I Love Lucy, anchored by a truly game actress who will happily take a tumble, cover herself in goo, or some combination of the two if it’ll get a laugh,” Joshua Alston wrote for the A.V. Club in 2016.
“Now we are finally able to embrace thicker body types, and I’m like, dang, I wish that was happening when I was on the show.”
The show also bravely tackled sensitive and newsy topics like racial profiling, smoking, and body positivity, putting it in the pantheon of iconic children’s shows. “Knowing that we did tackle body issues…it’s funny, I always say, during that time, I would get feedback from peers and work and everybody like, ‘You need to lose weight, you need to lose weight, and blah blah blah,’ ‘It’s not sellable,’ or whatever. And I’m just like, what? I’m so confused,” Raven-Symoné told BuzzFeed News. “And now we are finally able to embrace thicker body types, and I’m like, dang, I wish that was happening when I was on the show. I wouldn’t be so…hungry.”
She took a second to laugh off the superficial criticisms she’s faced, an attitude that’s helped her survive more than 25 years in the industry. Then she added, “It’s good to know that time evolves and that you can be a part of change even if you have to go through the pain to make sure somebody else has an easier time. I understand that now.”
In 2016, at the height of Hollywood nostalgia, it was announced that Raven — Baxter and Symoné — would get the opportunity to have even more influence with a new series, Raven’s Home, which premiered on July 21 on Disney Channel. “Raven Baxter is still fun-loving, she’s still eccentric, she’s still down for whatever to make the right thing happen,” said Raven-Symoné. And this time around, she’ll break ground and call the shots.
Raven’s Home moves Raven Baxter from San Francisco to Chicago and is set around a decade after the finale of That’s So Raven, which wrapped in 2007. On the new series, Raven and her best friend, Chelsea Daniels (Anneliese van der Pol), are both single, recently divorced moms — Raven to twins Booker and Nia (Issac Ryan Brown and Navia Robinson) and Chelsea to Levi (Jason Maybaum). After Chelsea loses most of her money to her criminal ex-husband, she and Levi move in with Raven and her kids to cut costs. “We’re representing single women around the country and maybe around the world who are watching,” van der Pol told BuzzFeed News from the Raven’s Home set in mid-July. “You know, that’s not really done often — definitely hasn’t been done on the Disney Channel.”
While Chelsea holds down the fort at home, Raven has fulfilled her dreams of becoming a fashion designer, though she still gets those pesky visions of the future, a trait that we learn in the premiere she’s passed on to her son.
On set, Raven-Symoné is not just an actor and executive producer, but also acts as a mentor to the show’s young stars, Brown, Robinson, and Maybaum. “[I’m] giving the information I learned when I first started in the industry back in the ’90s/’80s. … They’re getting the way that I learned how to be on set, and how I learned to deal with the cameras, and how I learned to tackle scripts,” she said. “There’s a professionalism that got lost in translation over the years that I’ve witnessed.” She said she likes to remind the young actors, “This is a business, this is a workplace, and yes, you can have fun at the workplace, but let’s not forget that you’re getting paid.”
For example, she took the cast out to do karaoke for Brown’s 12th birthday the day before her interview with BuzzFeed News. But when Brown came to set that following morning, he gave her a playful look that she said she had to shut down with a “nuh-uh. Get the mics. Let’s go to work.”
“Raven did a really good job of laying out that she’s in charge and the boss and an adult,” van der Pol said. “But also sort of, you know, their peer and respects them.”
Even though the city is new, the Raven’s Home set at Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles is definitely inspired by That’s So Raven‘s look. The living room shares that same burnt orange and turquoise aesthetic Raven Baxter was known for, but there are some new touches. Right by the front door hangs a still-life painting that Raven-Symoné did herself — the actor began taking art classes at the Academy of Art University in 2014. She also did the fashion drawings hanging up in the work nook hidden in the back of the living room set. It’s clear Raven-Symoné is leaving even more of her mark on Raven‘s second go-round.
In video village, behind the monitors that show the scenes they’re shooting, stands a director’s chair, right next to executive producers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas’s, marked for Raven-Symoné. And though there isn’t a megaphone, her voice is heard as she sits in front of a diverse group of producers, writers, and network execs, all different colors and ages, sharing her input on more than just her scenes. Together, they make sure to note what works and what doesn’t, right down to the inflection of a line of dialogue.
“We were very diverse,” van der Pol said of That’s So Raven. “I always laugh and joke and say I’m the token white Jew on that show, you know? Because really, we’re so diverse, and we still are and will be as we continue to film and shoot and cast, and that’s important to represent. It’s the only way to show truth.”
“I wasn’t able to appreciate how cool everything was because I was busy trying to make sure I chose the right project.”
Truth is something that’s important to Raven-Symoné, too. She constantly repeats the phrase “I’m just going to be 100% honest,” including when it comes to looking back on that peak Disney time in her life. “I wasn’t able to appreciate how cool everything was because I was busy trying to make sure I chose the right project and things got done,” she said of her then-19-year-old self. “Looking back, I’m like, holy crap, that’s a lot of stuff that happened and it is so enjoyable.” She paused, noting how hard it is to articulate her thoughts when she has seven scripts in her head. “I’m going to say it feels good.”
But Raven-Symoné did admit that in keeping so busy, she “didn’t have any time to grow, because I was working and I was making sure that the brand was what it was.” She added: “That’s OK and I do not regret it, but I’m not going to lie to you, it was difficult.”
After That’s So Raven ended in 2007, Raven-Symoné, who served as a producer on the final season, took a break from the industry. “There was a time period when I said, ‘You know what? I’m tired,’ and I took a little retirement for about two to three years, and I was able to grow, and I was able to be who I was without having to put on my eyebrows and a girdle and making sure that everything that came out of my mouth was kosher,” she said. “I was able to just be me and release who I was inside, and that ended up with me coming out.”
Raven-Symoné’s coming-out happened in 2013 when she tweeted a celebratory message about being able to get married right after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. But publicly coming out was not a priority for her until she had that time to breathe. “I already knew it,” she said of being queer, “but I knew that wasn’t something that was of importance. ‘I’m trying to do The Cheetah Girls right now. I don’t have time for this,’ and that’s fine because the priority was making sure that these projects came to life and making sure that people were entertained.”
With a work ethic like hers, it wasn’t too long before Raven-Symoné was ready to return to the spotlight — and when she did, she didn’t stray from under Disney’s wings. In 2015, she made a full emergence back into show business as a co-host on The View, a production of ABC News, which is a subsidiary of Disney. “It’s hard to find a company that cherishes their talent as much as Disney does and wants the best for the people that come out of their factory,” she said.
Although working with View moderator Whoopi Goldberg was the main selling point for her, Raven-Symoné said she was also excited about the opportunity to showcase her voice and intellect. “I really wanted to show more of my brain than anything else, and I think the experience was not only very educational to myself, but also amazing, because never have I put myself out in such a vulnerable situation to where my thoughts and my ideas took the forefront,” she said. “Normally my thoughts and ideas are written down by a table of 10 people or more and all I do is regurgitate it, and no one ever really, truly knew who I was.”
Her stint on the show was mired in controversy, from her agreeing with Mike Huckabee that Beyoncé should wear pants to saying she would discriminate against people with “ghetto names” (the way the manager at Sassy’s discriminated against Raven Baxter in the popular “True Colors” episode of That’s So Raven, saying she doesn’t hire black people).
Still, Raven-Symoné is unapologetic about her time on The View, stressing that “everybody’s view is valid.” “You have to take into consideration that, yes, we’re all one, but we all have different minds and think differently, and nature versus nurture,” she said. “I have many people that are behind the scenes that are like, ‘OK, well, don’t say that again,’ or ‘They didn’t like this.’ I have to go, ‘No, no, no. That’s my opinion, that’s their opinion, and if they don’t respect mine, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t respect theirs.’” Then she put a pin in the issue. “I shouldn’t be angry at what you feel, because I should have the right to feel what I feel and you should have the right to feel what you feel. Isn’t this America?”
On the set of Raven’s Home, there are fewer people behind the scenes telling Raven-Symoné what to say and do, or, in her case, what not to say or do. After all, she’s the executive producer and star, and the opportunity was enough to make her jump ship from The View after less than two seasons.
One of her first requests when it came to Raven’s Home was to make sure van der Pol came back with her. The longtime costars had kept in contact over the years, particularly while they were both living in New York when Raven-Symoné was on The View. She sees van der Pol as her anchor, just as much as Raven Baxter sees Chelsea Daniels as hers. “We kind of casually talked about it for so long, and I just didn’t want to let it sink in, you know?” van der Pol said of the reboot. “So I was like, ‘Call me when it’s real.’” When Raven-Symoné finally signed her contract, she called van der Pol and said, “They’re going to call you.” van der Pol was shocked and ecstatic. “I haven’t had a child or gotten married, so yeah, I think probably one of the happiest days of my life.”
Disney Channel has faced a recent ratings slump, so there is some pressure on Raven’s Home to be a saving grace for the network, a reality Raven-Symoné understands well. “’Success’ is great numbers,” she said when asked how she defines the word. “Making sure people watch it, download it, stream it, like that’s success, because” — she joked, in the cadence That’s So Raven fans know so well — “if you don’t, then I’mma get canceled and I’ll be real sad. So y’all watch it.” The show’s premiere had 3.5 million viewers, around the same number That’s So Raven‘s first few episodes brought in in 2003. It was the best live-action cable TV series premiere in two years among its targeted demographics — so Raven-Symoné can feel safe for now.
But beyond the numbers, Raven’s Home is a win for its leading lady: It’s a starring role, with the costar she asked for, on the network she’s long called home, where she’s now a boss — and she knows that too. “Success is I’m not angry when I go home at night,” she added. “Success is I want to chill with the people every day. I enjoyed myself.” ●
On stage in Anaheim was Josh Brolin (Thanos), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Karen Gillian (Nebula), Dave Bautista (Drax The Destroyer), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man).
In what feels like a spoiler forThor: Ragnarok, the Norse god out of nowhere crashes right onto the front window of the Guardians’ ship. When they bring him onboard and get Mantis to bring him out his unconscious state, he startledly asks them who they are.
When that’s all settled they show the spaceship hyperspeed away and the trailer then cuts to what looks like a London street in ruins. Scarlet Witch is huffing and puffing, trying to conjure a spell while looking like she’s on the losing side of the battle. The audience at D23 Expo erupted in cheers as the camera cut to who she was fighting: the Avengers’ original foe Loki (Tom Hiddleston) making his long awaited return to the MCU.
There is some voiceover about how there is impending doom coming with flashes to some of all the Avengers looking worried. Spider-Man got a big cheer when the clip showed him getting his Spidey Sense while in class, while Thanos barrels toward Earth.
The clips that follow show a beat-up Spidey saying sorry to Iron Man as he’s cradled by him, and Thanos crushing Thor’s head with his bare hands. To prove how powerful Thanos is, the trailer shows him reaching his arm back and conjuring a Moon-sized orb in the battle planet’s atmosphere and then throwing it at the Avengers, the orb exploding into a bunch of fireballs.
This is all just from only half of the film, as Feige said they reached 50% completion only recently. Some people who were noticeably absent from the presentation were Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Groot), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chris Evans (Captain America), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Paul Rudd (Ant Man), and Evangeline Lilly (Wasp), but they will likely be in the film in May 2018 when Avengers: Infinity War is released.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Jay-Z’s new album 4:44 has already been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in under a week after release. Downloads of the album were exclusive to Sprint customers and existing Tidal users, which is how the album’s quick platinum status seems…unusual.
A platinum album equals 1 million album units. According to RIAA, as of February 2016, one album unit could be the equivalent of one physical or digital album sale; 10 tracks sold from an album; or 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video streams from an album.
To put that streaming figure in perspective, consider the record-holder for most album streams in a single week: Drake’s More Life was spun 385 million times the week it dropped in March. In order to have earned platinum status by streams alone, 4:44 would have had to double Drake’s streaming record — a possible, but highly unlikely scenario, given the initial exclusive release nature of Hov’s album. And no physical copies of 4:44 are for sale yet.
Any fan of Jay-Z knows that the rapper fashions himself as more of a businessman, so there’s a pretty easy guess as to how the album went platinum already. With his last album Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z made a deal with Samsung where the company prepaid for 1 million copies to become exclusively available to Samsung Galaxy owners. This not only automatically pushed the album to the top of the Billboard 200, it jump-started another debate about what charting criteria should be. After MCHG, Billboard changed its rules to disqualify prepaid albums from counting toward chart success — which was partially why Rihanna, who made the same deal with Samsung for her 2016 album Anti, ended up charting less impressively on the Billboard 200 in the album’s first week.
Different artists have adopted other ways to help boost their album sales units. Katy Perry topped The Billboard 200 in part by bundling her recent album Witness with tickets for her tour. In 2011, Lady Gaga enticed buyers of Born This Way with a 99-cent fire sale on Amazon, which also resulted in Billboard rules being changed.
Billboard confirmed with Roc Nation that Sprint, indeed, did purchase at least 1 million copies of 4:44 and therefore the album will not be charting on Billboard as 1 million sold. However, the set will chart with any additional album units recorded from Nielsen Music streaming data this week.
And it still keeps its RIAA certification. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the organization said: “Under the program’s rules, the artist needs to be compensated and there needs to be demonstrated consumer demand in the United States, either for an on-demand stream or a sale. A sale counts toward a certification if purchased directly by the customer or a business can purchase the album or song and offer it to fans who must take affirmative steps to acquire the album or song. Fans participated, took action and downloaded Jay-Z’s album offered by Sprint.”
BuzzFeed News has requested comment from Roc Nation, Sprint, and Tidal for more details on the 4:44 deal.
E! News‘ two-part exclusive interview with former Bachelor in Paradise contestant DeMario Jackson aired earlier this week, after nearly three weeks of rumors revolving around an alleged incident of sexual misconduct on the show’s Mexico set.
On June 4, the first night of production on Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise, a sexual encounter between Corinne Olympios and Jackson occurred that prompted two producers to file a complaint. On June 11, news broke that Warner Bros., which produces the Bachelor franchise for ABC, had halted production and launched an investigation into the incident. And then, on June 20, Warner Bros. announced that its investigation turned up no evidence of misconduct and that production would resume on Bachelor in Paradise Season 4. (On June 29, a few days after Jackson’s E! News interview aired, Olympios released a statement that her legal team’s investigation was “completed to [her] satisfaction.”)
For the first time since the incident, Jackson provided his take on the incident and what transpired afterward. But there was much more in the full hour and 43 minute interview, which E! posted online Wednesday.
1. According to Jackson, the alleged incident between him and Corinne Olympios happened around 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. He said no one was severely intoxicated by that point and also noted that Olympios grabbed him away from Alexis Waters, another contestant on Bachelor in Paradise Season 4 from Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor. Jackson said that approximately an hour or two after he arrived on the Paradise set, Olympios made the first move. “She snatched me away from Alexis. She did a Corinne moment,” said Jackson, who said Olympios “hopped in my arms and I put my drink down… This was probably between like 4:00 and 5:00. You know, it was extremely early … We’re all arriving, we were like staggering in.” In his memory, Jackson had had a mixed drink and three shots at that point. (A representative for Olympios told BuzzFeed News she had no comment about Jackson’s E! News interview.)
2. Jackson said it didn’t occur to him that Olympios could be too drunk to consent, though he also said he wasn’t able to get an erection to have sex. “I get every guy’s biggest fear. I get like straight whiskey dick,” he said. “I’m like, kill me, kill me kill, me, and she’s like, ‘No, it’s okay’ … And then I get out of the pool and I have like my legs in the pool like this and I’m kind of just like hanging out really, and then, this is when she like gets up out of the pool and just like puts her lady parts like right on my face.” Jackson also said: “It was nothing that had never been seen on Paradise before. It was something that — there was nothing like crazy or like wild. We were both super coherent. We were both speaking, like… never once did it hit me like, ‘Man, this girl’s too drunk,’ because we were still talking. We were having, like, conversations.”
Later on in the interview, Jackson said, “I’m on Paradise, it’s not my job to walk around with a Breathalyzer. Unless some chick is like passed out on the ground or something, this isn’t the case. … And number 1, I’m drunk, so do I not have the same rights? If I’m 10 shots deep and you’re 10 shots deep, and you and I, you know, both make out, I mean, why is it the man’s guilty? Obviously it’s playing devil’s advocate, but why is it just on me? … If you have two people who are equally at fault for drinking and making out and hooking up?”
3. According to Jackson, it wasn’t until the cast gathered to meet host Chris Harrison that the binge drinking hit a peak. Jackson said Harrison pointed out to him how drunk he was. “We were getting ready to get lined up because Chris Harrison was coming to speak to us… so this is probably around 5 p.m./6 p.m. or so,” Jackson said. “Chris comes and talks to us probably like an hour or so later and no lie, between that hour, it was like go time. … At this point, we’re all drunk.” Jackson said Harrison said: “‘DeMario, get your shit together, pick your head up, where are you, open your eyes. Corinne, get up.'” Jackson also said fellow cast member Derek Peth had thrown up on himself. “We’re just like, ‘Bro, get it together,’ and like, Corinne’s drunk, and like, everybody is, like, just drunk, but it’s not like a bad [thing],” Jackson said. “We’re just in Paradise, you know? It’s nothing that TV has never seen before.”
Jackson said Harrison introduced the cast to the new bartender, Wells Adams from last season of Bachelor in Paradise. When he talked to Adams the next morning, Jackson said, “Wells was like, ‘Dude, when I got in here, you guys were like going for it.’ He goes, ‘It was very crazy to walk in to because you guys were already at that peak level.’”
5. By Monday, the day after his hookup with Olympios, Jackson already had solidified who he was getting a rose from at the ceremony on Tuesday: Waters. On Bachelor in Paradise, either the men or the women will give out roses to the opposite gender during a rose ceremony, and they’ll switch who gives out the roses during the next. If you are not given a rose, you are sent home from the show. “On Monday, it’s all about locking up the roses, so by now, Monday, Alexis was like, ‘Yo, I’m going to give you my rose.’ I’m like, ‘Cool!’ So I kind of told all the fellas, ‘By the way, I have my rose already.’ Vinny [Ventiera] is like, ‘Cool, Corinne is giving me hers.’”
6. On Tuesday, Jackson said one of the producers “hyped” him up about his hookups during his confessional (aka “ITM,” which stands for “in the moment”). “I discussed this in my in the moment,” Jackson said. “[The producer] is like, ‘D! You and Corinne, you and Alexis.’… This is like, my boy. Some producers know how to get me going and once I get going, I’m not stopping. … He’s like ‘D! First-day legend.’ … Like, he’s hyping me.” (A representative for Warner Bros. did not respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for a comment.)
7. Jackson believes producers had seen the incident in question between him and Olympios by Tuesday. “At this point … first day has already been chopped up,” Jackson said. “It’s already ready to go to the last form of editing. They’ve already went over it, they’ve discussed it, so they’ve all seen it and nothing’s wrong.”
8. But by Tuesday night, Jackson sensed something was wrong right before the rose ceremony Tuesday night, and he thought, ABC is going to fuck me again. “I’m getting ready to like, you know, put on my clothes for like the rose ceremony and all that kind of stuff and I do my ITM … and [the producer is] like, ‘D, it’s happening again. You know, you had Corinne the first night, now you’ve got Alexis. How’s it going?’ I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m super secure, I’m super confident, but I feel like ABC is going to fuck me again.’ My exact words: ‘I feel like ABC is gonna fuck me again,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean?’ I go, ‘I don’t know, dude.’ I said, ‘I feel like something crazy is gonna happen.'” (When reached, a representative for ABC had no comment and forwarded BuzzFeed News to Warner Bros.)
9. Shortly after that, Jackson said Bachelor franchise executive producer Elan Gale asked to speak with him and told him to take off his mic. Jackson said he had a friendly rapport with Gale, who he said once joked to him, “Oh, you wearing skinny jeans? I thought you were a black man. Where’s your dick at?” Jackson said Gale told him that that night, at the rose ceremony, he should tell Harrison and the cast he’s leaving because he’s “not here for the right reasons.” Jackson thought Gale might be playing a joke on him. “I’m like… ‘Elan, why? Why?’ He goes, ‘I can’t tell you. … Let’s just say I know things, and it would just be best.’” (Gale did not respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for a comment.)
10. Jackson said he felt like the producers set him up early on in the current season of The Bachelorette when the contestants played basketball with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and afterward, Jackson was exposed by an ex. She showed up at the gymnasium where they were filming, saying she and Jackson had been dating when he joined the show. The encounter led Rachel Lindsay, this season’s Bachelorette, to send him home. “They knew that this crazy Bumble girl was gonna be here, but they all lied and said, ‘No, she just showed up to the gym,’” Jackson said. “She specifically called my mother on Facebook. She called my mother and she’s like, ‘I’m gonna ruin your son, I’m gonna call ABC.’” Jackson wondered why the producers didn’t do more fact-checking. “She called in, but like so many people call in per year, per season about people and you guys never do this,” he said. “Why me? Like, what was, like, the beef with me, especially the way they did it was very like, sneaky. It was very like, ‘Hahaha, like, let’s do this. Let’s make him a villain for the bigger picture,’ which is Paradise, and I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’”
11. Jackson said that at the end of their conversation on Tuesday, Gale said he’d check back with him in 30 minutes. “I go up to my producer and I’m like, ‘Bro, what’s going on?” Jackson said. “And I go up to Alexis. I told her, I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t know what’s going on.’ … So she’s asking around, I’m asking around.” Jackson said he found one more producer that he knew from The Bachelorette who also wasn’t able to provide more information. After drinking before the rose ceremony, Jackson said he went to get food and another producer came up to him and said, “Hey, can we speak offline?” “I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ And then, all of a sudden, I walk up the hill and you’ve got an executive producer standing right there… he’s like, ‘Well, we need you to just go back to the hotel room to breathe.’”
12. In the hotel room early on Wednesday morning, Jackson was informed of the third-party complaint about him and Olympios. “This is Bachelor in Paradise. Like, people have sex here. We’re all adults. That’s what people do,” Jackson told a producer after spending the night pacing in his hotel room. “‘If you’re upset about people having sex, go get another job,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ ‘So why do I have to go home?’ ‘Well, you know we’re just taking precautionary measures.’ I’m like, ‘What does a third party have to do with Corinne and I? Did she consent? Yeah. Did you consent? Yeah’… I asked him that and he’s like, ‘Well, she didn’t say anything.’ I was like, ‘So, why are we caring?’ ‘Well, you know, it’s like a workplace environment, man. We take these things seriously.’”
13. The longer Jackson was in the hotel room, the more questions he said he had, and eventually, he suspected it was a racially charged situation. “I’m just asking like, ‘Why? Why me?’ And for me, it’s just, I’m not the kind of person that brings up like, ‘Ah! Black man in America,’ this and that, but at this point, I’m thinking like, what else could it be?” Jackson said. “I asked, ‘You guys have shown sex before on this TV show?’ ‘Yes.’ Like was there anything out of the [ordinary]? ‘No…’ I asked them, ‘Have you guys ever shown interracial…’ and he’s like, ‘Uh, I don’t know,'” said Jackson. “‘Because I don’t watch the show.'”
14. Later that Wednesday morning, Jackson said he was visited by an executive producer. After an emotional conversation, he was sent home. “‘What did this person see that you guys didn’t see? You’re the executive producer. You have 15-plus years in this industry. So you mean to tell me that an assistant producer, who’s been working for one fucking season…?'” Jackson asked the executive. “He goes, ‘I don’t know, because I’ve watched the video a thousand times and yeah, it’s raunchy as shit, and it’s softcore porn in a sense, but it’s nothing bad. It’s not,’ and I’m like, ‘What is it?’ And again I ask him, ‘Is it race?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know.'”
Jackson said the producer had tears in his eyes. “We spoke about the possibility of 300 people not having a job and I felt horrible,” he said. “He was extremely genuine. … I can tell he was confused. I was confused. I can tell that he really didn’t know the full story himself and it was just a very, like, man-to-man [talk]. And he’s a tall guy too, so he was, like, bigger than me and gave me, like, a big bear hug, and like, I got tears in my eyes, he has tears in his eyes, you know? But I’m still thinking like, ‘Man, this sucks, you know?'”
15. Jackson got home on Thursday and the news broke on Sunday night after a producer called him and said, “Hey, shit’s about to get real, real fast.” It was shortly after that that he realized he needed a lawyer. “I’m not thinking anything legal,” Jackson said of his assumption in the days prior. “I’m thinking like, Dang, I got a little too turnt up, got wild in the pool, and I got kicked off the show.”
16. Later, Jackson said, he was told the producer who made the claim “never watched the tape.” “She wasn’t even present while this was going on,” Jackson said. “She heard over a walkie-talkie later on in the night when Corinne was drunk that Corinne and DeMario hooked up and I’m like, ‘What about the three other guys? What about them? You know how they say black lives matter, all lives matter? All hookups matter? … Why was it specifically, ‘DeMario hooked up with Corinne?'”
17. Jackson said he had joined the Bachelor in Paradise cast in hopes of finding redemption after the incident on The Bachelorette, much like former villain-turned-Bachelor Nick Viall. “I tell the producers just like homies, I’m like, ‘Yo, you guys really fucked me. I understand it’s like reality [TV] and like, I get it, but like, you guys really, really fucked…’ and that’s the reason why I did Paradise, because it was the whole redemption,” Jackson said. “You get to have the last laugh. I saw how [Nick Viall] was this bad-boy villain for two seasons and then he went on Paradise, and so I saw that, and I respected it, and was like, ‘Cool, okay, I could do that.'”
18. Jackson said ultimately, he views the crew as a family. “We’re really family and even through all this whole process, people have reached out to me who could have lost their jobs talking to me,” he said.
19. And he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward Olympios, but he sees her saying she doesn’t remember what happened that night as “a gray area.” “I feel bad for her. I feel bad for her family. I feel like she was given wrong information or she was part of something that was much bigger,” Jackson said. “One thing that I’ve noticed in all of her real [statements], she’s saying she doesn’t remember and she’s saying she doesn’t blame me, she blames the production. But at the same time, saying you don’t remember… it’s like a gray area. I get what she’s doing. She’s being very smart wording certain things. … But I don’t know.”
He added: “We’re all pawns, we’re all victims to certain degrees.”
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“I initially became interested in this bill because as an Afro-Latina immigrant, I knew what it felt like to grow up feeling invisible in American culture. It was so rare to see a character of color on television, and when you did see one, it felt like they were tokenized, stereotyped, or killed off quickly,” she said. “And while the industry has made some strides on representation in front of the camera, diversity behind the camera is still sorely lacking. I think the overall quality of television, the different kinds of stories that can be told, the overall landscape of the art form will benefit greatly from having opportunities for diverse people to tell their stories. It was a tough battle, but I stuck with the bill because of the future generations of talented women and people of color who would otherwise remain undiscovered, and the inspiration their stories could bring to countless young people and immigrants like myself.”
BuzzFeed News also reached out to representatives for Assemblymember Crespo for a statement.