People Are Angry At How “Celebrity Big Brother” Handled David Bowie’s Death

Viewers saw Angie Bowie, the first wife of the late David Bowie, telling Tiffany Pollard, a fellow housemate, that “David” had died. Tiffany assumed this meant David Gest, another contestant. Update: Two hundred and eleven people have complained about the episode to Ofcom, which said it will assess the complaints before deciding whether to investigate.

1. Celebrity Big Brother courted controversy on Monday night by showing Angie Bowie, the first wife of the late David Bowie, crying not long after hearing the news that he had died.

Jeff Spicer / Getty Images

However, Tuesday night’s episode, which shows what happened in the house after she heard the news, produced more outrage.

2. After hearing the news about her late ex-husband, Angie tells Tiffany Pollard, a fellow housemate, that “David is dead.” Tiffany assumes that this means David Gest, another housemate.

Channel 5 / Big Brother

Tiffany is immediately hysterical and Angie believes she is reacting to David Bowie’s death. David Gest, meanwhile, has gone for a lie-down after feeling unwell.

3. Tiffany then runs to the other housemates in the garden and tells them that “David is dead.” They run to check on David Gest, who is fine.

Celebrity Big Brother / Channel 5

Celebrity Big Brother / Channel 5

 

4. An emotional Tiffany assumes Angie set this incident up as a joke, so the other contestants separate her from Angie.

Celebrity Big Brother / Channel 5

Angie is then shown crying in the diary room. “[Tiffany] just started screaming and then thought it was David Gest,” she says. “And then said she thought it was a joke. And I said, ‘No, would I joke something about that?’ And she didn’t know what I was talking about. I don’t know what to do.”

Tiffany is then ostracised by other housemates following the incident.

5. Some viewers are angry at how Big Brother handled the situation and accused it of being voyeuristic.

This is such bad taste. I can't not look at it #CBB

— Andrew Hayden-Smith (@AndrewHaydSmith)

Could the people on big brother be any more insensitive, how have they managed to turn someone's death into air time for themselves.

— Megan (@Megan_Mather_x)

8. There was also criticism of the other housemates for the way they handled Tiffany reacting to the news.

Tiffany overreacted yes but the House shouldn't have ganged up on her like that. It's not fair for her or Angie @bbuk #CBB

— Mario Mugan (@SuperMarioMugan)

There was a mix up due to ANGIE not being clear who died & then Tiffany became a drama queen. No threats were made so why the fear?? #cbb

— Victor Ebuwa (@VicEbuwaSlick)

10. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, after being asked whether it could have handled the situation better, Celebrity Big Brother said: “It is always the show’s aim to represent and reflect the day’s events accurately to viewers.”

It added: “After being told of the tragic news off-camera yesterday by her own representative, Angie made the decision – entirely of her own accord – to remain in the Celebrity Big Brother house and to continue participating in filming. The option to leave the house remains open to Angie at any time.”

UPDATE

Ofcom told BuzzFeed News it had received 211 complaints regarding Celebrity Big Brother – 154 for televising Angie’s reaction shortly after being told about David Bowie’s death, 16 complaints objecting to Tiffany’s hysterical reaction after misunderstanding Angie, and 41 complaints about Tiffany being bullied by other housemates following the incident.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not.”

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Scott Bryan is a TV editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London. Contact this reporter at: scott.bryan@buzzfeed.com
 
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