Big Brother eviction a lesson in slow-motion humiliation

gemmaIf it was designed to bring out conflict, the 2014-style of Big Brother evictions is just about as cruel as they come.

Gemma and Jake were both up for eviction but this year Big Brother made them both face off against their fellow housemates.

One by one contestants had to stand behind the housemate they wanted to save, verbalising their choices. It was humiliating stuff as 8 of Gemma’s housemates lined up, schoolyard-pick style, behind Jake. Only one, Priya, stood up for the towering redhead.

No question it takes a strong character to be able to face such rebuttal on national television, only to be paraded on stage just moments later. Kudos to her for enduring it with such dignity.

As an apparent world-first, to require housemates to deliver face to face evictions, it’s a strategy that offers great potential for conflict: tears, abuse, dressing-downs, payback -it’s all there for the making. But it could also be excruciating if it backfires.

Producers need to remember there is enough drama in the elimination and the farewell alone. It’s not necessary to put somebody through such slow-motion humiliation, just because you can. And aside from that, our host no longer gets to utter the famous “It’s time to go…” catchphrase. Boo.

Yes it’s Reality TV. But in an era when we don’t condone bullying, Reality TV should be able to have a heart.

Update: Gemma has since told Nine’s Daily Mail site, that while she didn’t feel attacked by Big Brother, she was bullied by her fellow housemates:

“I did feel bullied at times. When you’re in high school you have that schoolyard pick.”


  1. BB is now a pathetic shadow of its former self, thanks to Nine. They may as well put it on for the kids at 4pm when they come home from school. Ten presented it as the social experiment it is meant to be, warts and all. It was not full of day to day manufactured stunts and virtually no unscripted live content. Nanny Nine Network packages the show like NappySan, guaranteed to get rid of dirt, will sanitize and leave things nice and white, blemish free, putting nervous parents at ease whilst it safeguards their little ones.

  2. That was brutal last night, I really felt for Gemma. Watching them all line up behind Jake, I was thinking can just 1 of them pick Gemma, then thank God Priya did. She really went up in my estimation for that.

  3. Can I refer to the finale of each season of Survivor where quite often it is say an 8-0 vote in favour of the winner. Is this any different? That is also done live on TV. It’s hardly bullying.

  4. @maxxdude: The only reason the US version does the eviction vote anonymously is because the US version is like the Survivor voting process. There are alliances and if voting occured publicly then HMs would be exposed to someone they are trying to evict or are not in an alliance with.
    With BBAU this is not an issue, since discussing nominations publicly isn’t allowed. While I understand the eviction last night might bring bad memories from school back for some (I was also frequently bullied on school as well), this is a reality show and the voting has never been truly anonymous. HMs have always been nominated openly to the public, and it has been seen by the evictee live on stage after the eviction or they probably have watched it afterwards. No one has had a problem with this in past seasons. In my opinion this isn’t bullying but just how the BB game is played. I hope this eviction…

  5. I do not watch…I did in the early days on TEN…loved it then….I just came to look because of the large number of posts…
    All this indignation…I wonder how much of that will transfer to falling ratings next week…I suspect little or none.

  6. At the end of the day, Gemma admitted herself, she was in there to cause conflict. Good on her for taking that strategy to the house, but as we have seen time and time again, it never works in the first week – look at Tim last year!

    She knew what she was doing and what she wanted to bring to the house.

    Let’s roll onto next week, because good, bad or indifferent, we are talking about the show. You know what they say about publicity…

    PS: Love the site David. Long time visitor but only just signed up today to comment.

  7. You bring up an interesting point @Maxxdude. If they had a format where contestants can plot and “make alliances” to (like Survivor or the North American edition of BB, even if they keep the public vote aspect) then even if the vote is a landslide (like last nights) then you could say it is less of a bullying issue and more of a “hey I am playing the game, you a threat to me winning”. They will “play the game” and less of the vote offs will be personal.

  8. We have had “playground” picks on TV for decades. Brady Bunch, Survivor, Apprentice etc etc etc. Suddenly this is an issue?
    Complete over-hyped article written to provoke comment on a DOA reality show.

    • Fair enough if you feel it was written to provoke comment. I can only say I write such articles, whether positive or negative, as a reaction to what I am seeing on the screen. As comments here indicate, we can often view the same thing in a different way. But that doesn’t mean I write to provoke comment, it just means we differ on the same incident. Including Brady Bunch as a 1970s sitcom is a different circumstance: a different era, and done with actors. If you mean the team picks we’ve seen on Apprentice or Masterchef for example, yes it sucks to be picked last. But it’s not 8 vs 1, Live on national TV, where your personality is being assessed directly before you go out on stage to hordes. Many here, and elsewhere, seem to agree it was inappropriate. The dumb thing is there is enough drama in the traditional elimination.

  9. I missed it last night because I was watching Back Seat Drivers… but why was it only 9 housemates? There’s more than that in the house, or was it first to 8?

  10. I know I may be in the minority here but I don’t think it was that bad. This isn’t the first (or second) time BB has done this. I wouldn’t call it “bullying” at all. Housemates nominate every week, this time it was just to her face. Also, it’s not like the other people have her the finger as they walked to Jake; they all said that it was nothing against her, that they just got along better with him. Nothing about this was mean-spirited. I didn’t even fathom this reaction until I read this article.

    I definitely think that if it wasn’t 8-1, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  11. A bullying expert has called on Nine to pull the repeat screening of this episode because it features a “form of violence” that children should not see – and I agree. I was bullied heavily at school and sports time was the absolute worst for me because almost every week, team captains would be chosen and I was always the last person to be picked. In fact I wasn’t chosen, I was the last person left so whoever got me had no choice. That was many years ago and it still affects me. Gemma was nationally shamed. Whatever you think of her game play, no one deserves this. No one! It was a heartless attack on someone who has already spent much of her life on the defensive. I love BB but this is beyond the pale, even for the theatre of cruelty that is reality TV.

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