Racism and sexual harassment are at the forefront of Celebrity Big Brother talking points, but are the producers being strict enough?
Whether it’s bullying, queermisia or accusing abuse victims of being “stupid”, Big Brother is always full of controversy. But this time, the offences are coming thick and fast. Celebrity Big Brother started again on the 16th February. Due to Stormy Daniels backing out hours before the show because of personal reasons, it had already made headlines. But the next day, it was making headlines yet again for a much more troubling reason.
The show has been accused in the past of being too forgiving with the housemates. They generally do well with picking contestants up on their offensive language or violent behaviour. However, they’re perhaps all too fond of giving out warnings rather than booting people off the show. Ken Morley is a perfect example of this. OFCOM had been receiving complaints about his behaviour, but the producers still waited until he used the N-word before finally kicking him out. If they’d have taken this action previously, the offensive word wouldn’t have been aired, therefore could’ve saved many fans feeling let down and offended.
We’re now looking at almost exactly the same offence being committed by current housemate, Rodrigo Alves, AKA the human Ken doll. He used the offensive racial slur twice during his first night in the house. However, he was only given a formal warning, which means Alves is allowed to stay in the house until he inevitably causes offence yet again.
“he was only given a formal warning, which means Alves is allowed to stay in the house until he inevitably causes offence yet again.”
During an episode aired on the 19th August (two nights after his formal warning), he was filmed attempting to make another housemate show him his penis. Contestant Ben Jardine was naked in the bath, but used his hand to keep his genitals covered. Rodrigo first tried to persuade Ben to show him his penis while leaning over the bath. When Ben laughed this off, he continued to ask to see it before finally walking out of the bathroom.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Ben has been a victim of unwanted sexual attention. Housemate Hardeep Singh Kohli decided to massage Ben’s bare back in the kitchen, followed by putting an ice cube on his nipple. Although Ben laughed this off too, there was a certain sense of unease you could see in his face.
You’d expect with the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo campaigns, Big Brother would be making a conscious effort to be a little more sympathetic. When putting a group of mostly strangers in a house together, they have a responsibility to keep everyone safe. They also have a responsibility to be a voice for viewers of the show. Fans are calling for Rodrigo to be kicked off the show. They’re also calling for Hardeep to be pulled up on his inappropriate behaviour. These concerns should be listened to.
This series of Celebrity Big Brother has been named ‘Eye of the Storm’, but have they just unleashed a storm in the house? With one housemate entering who had been accused of sexual assault and another having been recorded threatening to stab his partner, it’s pretty clear this series was always intended to make headlines. But have they gone too far this time, and should they be cracking down on booting out housemates? Of course, the answer to both of these questions is yes.