A contestant on the Greek version of Big Brother was walked off the reality show on Sunday night, after he made a rape ‘joke’ that caused outrage on social media.
*Warning: Viewer discretion is advised.
Viewers of the show demanded the immediate removal of housemate, Antonis Alexandrides, after he made a comment to fellow contestants on Saturday’s episode suggesting he would rape a woman if she refused to sleep with him.
Celebrities joined the public outcry on social media, expressing their discontent through the #cancelbigbrothergr movement, which began to trend on Twitter in Greece. Government representative, Stelios Petsas, was also actively involved in this outcry, requesting that the Government Broadcast Department intervene to manage the situation.
Big Brother GR sponsors publicly announced that they were withdrawing their sponsorships. The first one to leave was Rigas Furniture, who took to Twitter to make the following announcement, which has been translated from Greek: “After being informed about the incident on Big Brother GR last night, Rigas Furniture have decided to withdraw their sponsorship. It is a difficult time, where all companies are being tested by the challenges created by COVID-19. We felt that our sponsorship would be a positive help in boosting advertising for reality titles. However, as a company with female-dominated management, we have learned first and foremost to respect human values, regardless of the cost. Rape is a crime, and so it must be treated as such, even if it is within the parameters of reality television viewing.”
On social media, followers of the the Big Brother GR official account expressed their anger.
“The show producers should take him out of the game, because it is unacceptable to reproduce such words, even as a ‘joke’,” wrote one female Twitter user the next day. Others showed concern for the women of the game saying “Do the female participants know there is a rapist, or will they find out after he rapes them?”
Since the initial development, further unacceptable behaviour by Alexandrides has come to light, including body-shaming and homophobia.
During the same conversation, the young man discriminated against overweight women, while discussing the women on the show in a conversation with two other male contestants. He discredited the presence of those on the show he deemed overweight, saying “I am not adding the fat ones”. His fat-shaming comment also caused an uproar on social media.
The production had full knowledge of Alexandrides’ homophobia as they wrote about it on the official Twitter account of Big Brother Greece in the style of a Cretan poem (mantinada) when they introduced the contestant. “He is a Cretan man and he is also a bar tender; he doesn’t get along with gay men because he got a temper,” the production posted on August 29.
The first reaction of Skai TV’s producer was to interrupt the Big Brother Livestreaming. The show production reportedly invited the player to the communication room to clarify what exactly he meant, giving him the right to apologize.
The YouTube clip with the Livestream footage of Alexandrides’ offensive remarks has since been removed, after attracting hundreds of negative comments.
Around 1:30 am Monday, the Big Brother production released a video showing the player being ousted from Big Brother.
Antonis Alexandrides apologised and said he was ashamed and was finding it hard to believe that he said those things. “I didn’t come down from any mountain,” he said, referring to the fact that he is educated.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual or domestic violence, there are a number of resources available to assist.
In Australia, if you would like to speak to someone for support or information, 1800RESPECT (Phone: 1800 737 732) can provide counselling 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.