NY Daily News

June 22, 2017

‘Bachelor in Paradise’ contract reveals cast waives rights to sue

by Nicole Bitette

‘Bachelor in Paradise’ contract reveals cast waives rights to sue

The “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant who was allegedly sexually assaulted on set is still planning to pursue legal action despite signing away her rights to sue producers if they did not stop the alleged crime.

The “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant who was allegedly sexually assaulted on set is still planning to pursue legal action despite signing away her rights to sue producers if they did not stop the alleged crime.

Corinne Olympios cannot sue producers, but would instead have to make her claims against them to an arbitrator, whose decision would be final, according to a contract for the ABC reality series obtained by CNN Money. She would be able to press criminal charges against DeMario Jackson, her alleged assaulter, in Mexico, which could ultimately go to trial.

Legal experts said that the aspect of the contract denying a jury trial is enforceable. Even if the case against producers were brought to court, it would be thrown out by a judge, entertainment litigator Richard Roth of The Roth Law Firm in New York City told the Daily News.

The decisions and proceedings would also be kept confidential, which is a necessary benefit for producers in order to protect themselves, Roth added.

Warner Bros. revealed this week that its internal investigation found no sexual assault occurred between Olympios and Jackson while filming the series in Mexico, but Olympios hired high-powered celebrity attorney Martin Singer, who said he still plans to pursue the issue.

“Our own investigation will continue based on multiple new witnesses coming forward revealing what they saw and heard,” Singer said.

Olympios referred to herself as a “victim” in a statement last week and said she is still trying to make sense of what happened that night in the pool at the Playa Escondida resort in Sayulita, Mexico.

“As a woman, this is my worst nightmare and it has now become my reality,” she stated. “I have retained a group of professionals to ensure that what happened on June 4 comes to light and I can continue my life, including hiring an attorney to obtain justice.”

Entertainment attorney Steve Katelman, who doesn’t work on “Bachelor” but writes reality TV contracts for other shows, told The News that a sexual assault accuser could still go to the cops if he or she wanted to.

“There’s no release in the world that can release criminal conduct or gross negligence,” he said.

Contracts like the one Olympios signed are standard in reality TV, where participants agree to an “extremely comprehensive release” accounting for just about all possible mishaps, Katelman said.

These boilerplate contracts cover emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy and much more.

“Anything under the sun,” Katelman said.

“The participant signs the release fully informed of what they are giving up,” Katelman said, noting that the documents typically note potential hazards in “copius detail” — including the possibility of death.

The contract, obtained by CNN, also stipulated that cast members refrain from unlawful behavior and notes that producers do not encourage “intimate or sexual” encounters with the other participants, despite a main arc of the reality series consisting of hook-ups between contestants on the show who are there looking for love.

“Today’s reality fixtures are opening nightclubs and selling skinny margaritas for millions of dollars. As such, there are implied incentives available to cast members who are down to fool around,”an anonymous reality TV producer told Vulture last week.

Two legal experts told CNN Money that the contracts are completely one-sided, but Roth explained to The News that that is the case when it comes to most contracts, whether it is signing a mortgage or leasing a car. He explained how most participants are well aware of what they are getting themselves into and still do so because they have the desire to be on television. Roth added that producers do not force anyone to sign anything and if someone is not comfortable with the terms, they can move on and the show will find someone else.

At this time, neither Olympios nor Jackson have filed lawsuits and Olympios has not reported the incident to authorities, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed to The News.

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