Cape Town – Pay TV-broadcaster M-Net remained silent on Wednesday as a growing rape scandal swirled around its tawdry Big Brother Mzansi reality show in which a male contestant bragged that he "dipped" a passed out female housemate.
Production company Endemol South Africa booted the male contestant and also removed the female housemate “for her well-being” from the voyeuristic reality show on M-Net and MultiChoice’s Big Brother Mzansi channels on DStv. Big Brother Africa and Big Brother Mzansi have been plagued by assault and physical violence incidents in several previous seasons.
M-Net South Africa CEO Yolisa Phahle told Eyewitness News (EWN) radio that “We do have a lot of footage which we are currently going through with a very fine-tooth comb”.
After heavy drinking on Saturday night – the show plies the contestants with as much free alcohol as they want – the liquored up man and woman jumped into bed and started to kiss when the cameras switched away.
Later the man bragged to fellow contestants that “I dipped her but I don’t think she remembers because she passed out”. The distraught woman later told fellow contestants that she didn’t consent to any sex with the man.
Earlier on the same night, the woman was pressed in-between the same man and another male contestant and then kissed and groped against her will. Both men were cautioned by the producers about their inappropriate behaviour but left in the house.
The Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) TV channel which shows highlights – together with the two full coverage channels on DStv channels 197 and 198 – said in a statement that “having suspected that there may have been an incident of sexual misconduct, Mzansi Magic acted by removing both individuals from the house”.
Although the camera house is filled with cameras, M-Net says “it is not exactly clear what transpired” between the two contestants in the Big Brother Mzansi house.
Mzansi Magic tells Channel24 that “the investigation into this matter continues and we will update the media as the information becomes available”.
During last year’s season of Big Brother Mzansi, M-Net called a man hitting a woman “an isolated incident”.
M-Net has so far not responded to specific questions and media enquiries about the allegations of rape, asking how M-Net protects women in the production and what the broadcaster’s viewpoint is regarding socially responsible television and broadcasting.
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