Australian Big Brother contestants removed for alleged sexual assault

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Two contestants from Big Brother in Australia have been escorted from the show. Ashley, a pseudonym for Michael Cox of Perth, and John, a pseudonym for Michael Bric of Melbourne, sexually assaulted a contestant known as Camilla. Camilla climbed into John's bed after stating that she wished one of the boys "would put your arrow near me" at around 4.30am. John was then seen to have held her firm as a half-naked Ashley rubbed his penis on her face in an act know as "turkey slapping". Immediately after the incident Camilla grabbed John's penis and laughed as he jumped.

Its unlikely that charges will be laid over the incident. The Age newspaper reported that "Camilla" last night talked about the incident, saying she believed the men were joking. The only people alleging that this was sexual harassment are politicians and journalists.

“We had a great time in the house and it is unfortunate it had to end this way, but BB has rules and regulations and we broke them,” they said in a joint statement. “We are all very close in the house and we would never do anything to offend our fellow housemates.”

This is the first time contestants have been removed from the show for breaching rules.

They will not receive further endorsement or prizes from the show.

"I can't comment [on the sexual allegations]," said David Brown, from Southern Star Endemol, "But their removal from the house should indicate how serious the matter is."

The discussion forum of official Big Brother site has been shut down due to the incident. There is no notice on when the forum will be reopened.

There are now eight contestants competing for the remaining $275 thousand. It has been reduced after fines for not wearing microphones when talking, discussing nominations and singing commercial music.

Several weeks ago the show's adults-only series, Big Brother: Adults Only, was axed.

Last year the show was under scrutiny when a male contestant rubbed himself on a female contestant during a massage.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for the show to be pulled saying "Here is a great opportunity for a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid programme off the air" adding "It is just a question of good taste".