Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan has taken the stick to big brother after Security guards escorted two male contestants off the show, after an alledged sexual incident with a female contestant.
Also calling for an investigation is the Opposition Leader Kim Bealzley who says the current season of the reality television program Big Brother should be the last. Speculation is rife over the future of the Australian version of Big Brother after two housemates were ejected for allegedly engaging in a sexually intrusive act.
Male contestants John, 21, and Ashley, 20, were removed from the house late Saturday afternoon following an incident in the early hours of that morning.
According to fansite Behind Big Brother, the pair climbed into the bed of fellow contestant Camilla at around 4.30am. John was then said to have held her firm as a half-naked Ashley allegedly performed an act on her face.
Although their intent appeared to be jovial in nature, the recipient apparently declared that it was “not cool”.
In a statement, production firm Endemol Southern Star and broadcast network Ten confirmed that Ashley and John had been “escorted from the house following a breach of the rules”.
In a joint statement issued after their ejection, Ashley and John said: “We had a great time in the house. It is unfortunate it had to end this way, but Big Brother has rules and regulations and we broke them. We are all very close in the house and we would never do anything to offend our fellow housemates.”
The news comes just days after the network axed it’s raunchy spinoff series, Big Brother: Adults Only, amid continued debate over its content. The Minister for Communications, Helen Coonan today sought urgent answers in relation to an alleged incident involving three ‘Big Brother’ housemates during filming of the programme over the weekend. “Like most Australians, in particular parents of children who watch the ‘Big Brother’ programme, I was very concerned to hear details of an alleged incident involving three housemates over the weekend, said Senator Coonan.
“I note that the alleged incident was sexual in nature and make very clear that any allegation of sexual assault is a very serious issue. “Clearly this is matter for the police and I am advised that Network 10 has provided the footage of Saturday morning’s incident to the Queensland Police.
“Any further action in relation to possible criminal charges emanating from this footage is obviously a matter for the police,” Senator Coonan said. The Minister has also sought an urgent assessment of the issue and possible breaches of the television code of conduct from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the regulator of television content. “I have spoken with the Chairman of ACMA this morning and he will be providing an urgent assessment about possible breaches of codes of conduct relating to television content. It is understood that footage of the alleged incident was not broadcast on television but was streamed via the Internet to an unspecified audience who logged on in the early morning of Saturday.
“I have sought and obtained an undertaking from Channel 10 that they will not broadcast or promote this incident. I will ensure ACMA also investigates any breaches of the regulations.
“I will have more to say after the regulator has provided me with advice tomorrow.” the Minister
Producers will not comment further on what they describe as a “serious matter”, after which contestants Ashley and John were escorted from the Dreamworld house. A Queensland police spokeswoman says no complaint has been made and the incident is not being investigated.
Kim Beazley says the program should be stopped.
“If my advice is worth anything to the folk who run Channel Ten, and how they choose to conduct themselves is their business, I’d say make this Big Brother the last,” he said.
Queensland taxpayers will continue investing in the production of Big Brother, despite the program’s latest controversy.
State Premier Peter Beattie says the financial incentive has helped secure lighting and camera jobs on the Gold Coast.