DeMario Jackson has been waiting for Monday's episode of Bachelor in Paradise for "two months, three days and eight hours."
The controversial contestant has "been through hell" since production was temporarily shut down on the ABC dating show while Warner Bros. investigated complaints of misconduct, but feels he's finally been "vindicated" after Monday night's season premiere.
"I feel like they rolled enough of the tape," Jackson, who stepped out in a "Show the Tape" T-shirt ahead of the premiere, told ET's Lauren Zima. "You can't show too much, because that's gonna disrespect Corinne and I, and I just feel like it wouldn't be the best or the classiest thing to do. But, they showed enough. "
"The public, they need to see something. I think they just needed to see [that] she's lucid. I'm lucid. We're swimming around. We're having fun. We're friends," he explained. "It wasn't like I'm some predator who was at the bar waiting for the girl to get extremely drunk, then I'm like, 'Oops! Let me pounce on her.' No, it was very mutual and, in fact, she was a little bit of the aggressor in it, and I love how they painted the picture and the story of us actually talking, mingling, getting to know each other."
Monday's episode did show Jackson and Olympios "mingling" -- as well as them cuddling in a pool fully clothed. However, all that was shown of the pair the next day, was them being pulled away by producers.
"I do wish [they explained more]," Jackson confessed. "Like, that very moment of us getting into the pool and everything, that's when we had kinda got, you know, a little more cozier, so to speak. Everything happened and then we were just finished." According to Olympios' rep, the incident occurred later in the day, in a hot tub.
Jackson may be pleased with how ABC handled the encounter on screen, but he's still not happy about being sent home.
"We're supposed to be on Paradise to mate, relate, have fun, to look for, you know, your future girlfriend, wife or whatever," he said. "And for me to get kicked off based off of hooking up, like we're supposed to do? That's like me playing for the Lakers and I get suspended for dunking a basketball. Like, that's my job."
Things didn't get any easier for Jackson, who said he was "heartbroken, angry and depressed."
"One of my lowest moments was when my grandmother actually called me. She said, 'Hey, baby. It's your granny. I had a lady from the press call me about something you and a young lady did in Mexico... Wouldyou mind calling me back?'" he shared. "I'm like, 'Ahhh! You called my grandmother?'"
"I signed up for this reality," Jackson explained. "I feel guilty, because my mom didn't sign up for this, and she's been getting harassed, people tweeting at her, on her Instagram saying, 'Your son's a rapist.'"
"That was the part I was most sad about. I feel like I created this for my family, in a sense, by being a little reckless," he added, tearing up. "And I just want to say I'm sorry to them."
Jackson also feels let down by how quickly he was judged by everyone following the shutdown.
"The human race failed me, because instead of waiting to see what happened, people were already painting me as this horrible villain, and they were slut-shaming Corinne, and it wasn't the case," he said. "It was just very, like, 'Oh, Corinne was like this in a past season. So, she's like this, and DeMario is black, and the media has portrayed African Americans like this for so many years, so he's that'... Do you guys not think about the people whose lives you're ruining?"
And that all left Jackson feeling very emotional and even "suicidal, but not like the suicidal that you might think."
"I never thought, 'Oh, I'm gonna kill myself,' but it crossed my mind," Jackson confessed, adding that he saw a therapist and lost 25 pounds due to the stress of the scandal. "I remember just talking to my mom, like, 'My life's over. Like, I don't even want to live anymore.' And she, like, lost it."
Jackson said he's "having much happier thoughts now, noting that his relationship with ABC is "great" and that he wants Olympios, whom he hasn't spoken to since Paradise, to know that he's "here for her."
"Just stay strong. Don't let the people who weren't there alter your judgment. Don't let the people who weren't there get the best of you," he advised. "Corinne's a lot like me, she's extremely misunderstood. She has a personality that lights up a room, a smile that lights the room. She's a smart girl, and when I say smart, I mean she knows how to play this reality wheel thing."
"I told her [in Paradise], I was like, 'Yo, I admire your hustle. You're very smart, you're very strategic,'" Jackson said. "She knows how to play it up and play it down."
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.