The second night of Celebrity Big Brother 2013 spawned the hit reality show’s first controversy of the season, involving Carol McGiffin and a racist term. Louie Spence, Sophie Anderton, and Lauren Harries re-entered the Celebrity Big Brother 12 house in the early evening to the surprise of most of their new housemates.  Up until that point the three Cult of Celebrity founding members had been hidden away in a secret room observing their future housemates without their knowledge.

carol and louie

Upon entering the main house, the three new HouseGuests mingled with the rest of the group while trying to hide their secret task given by Big Brother.  Once all the introductions and excitement had simmered down Carol McGiffin and Louie cozied up on the stair case away from the group for a chat.   This conversation would land Carol in hot water with the show’s producers and spark the first controversy of the season.

While chatting on the stairs, Louie confessed to Carol that he did not know whom Ron Atkinson was and asked if she could fill him in.  Carol explained that Ron had a very successful career as football coach and went on to become a commentator after he retired from coaching.  His career as a game commentator came to a very abrupt end when he was recorded off camera (but still wearing his microphone), referring to a player as the “N word.”  Carol used the actual word while relaying the story to Louie.  She also said that she did not know the context in which Ron said it, or how he meant it, but his career ended in an instant.

Shortly after the conversation between Carol and Louie, Carol was called into the Diary Room by Big Brother.  Carol was reprimanded by Big Brother for having used offensive language and reminded that before she entered the Celebrity Big Brother 2013 house she was informed of the rules about using such language.  Big Brother warned her that if she used offensive or derogatory language again she would be removed from the house immediately.  Carol looked shocked and sincerely remorseful.  She apologized to Big Brother and promised it would not happen again.

Tabloids and websites quickly picked up on this story with headlines that made it sound as if Carol had said something intentionally racist.  Did she do something wrong? Yes, it is a firm rule in the Big Brother house that you cannot use such language.  The context she used the word in however, was very innocent, she was merely relaying a true story to a friend.

The look on Carol’s face when Big Brother reprimanded her was a mixture of shock and worry.  She has been in the media industry long enough to know that this situation would get blown out of proportion and misconstrued.

Much of the buzz around the internet has been that Big Brother reacted towards Carol too harshly.  There is a history of racism occurring on the show however that sparked a firestorm of controversy in a previous season.  Celebrity Big Brother 5’s Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd, and Jo’Meara made several racist remarks towards Indian actress Shilpa Shetty throughout their time on the show.   After the show aired the incidents it became a huge story in the UK as well as internationally.

Both the British and Indian governments responded to the controversy, and the show was suspended for a season.  Several of the people involved as well as the show itself and the network lost sponsors and advertisers in the aftermath.  Since then the British Big Brother franchise has been very pro-active about any use of offensive or derogatory language and/or behavior.

I don’t believe that Big Brother overreacted, Carol needed to be reminded not to say that word regardless of the context.  What I don’t agree with is all the British tabloids making a huge story out of the situation and implying that Carol had said something intentionally racist in their headlines.  That is something that could tarnish a person’s career permanently.

Keep up with all the latest from Celebrity Big Brother 2013 here at all season long!

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