After Reggie Bird’s eviction from Big Brother, people are calling out the show for having ableist challenges.
Last night’s Big Brother was a double whammy for all of the show’s fans, with Estelle and fan-favourite Reggie being evicted from the house. While the shocking twist of the double eviction was bad enough, people are also unhappy with how the challenges on the show – arguably featuring an inclusive band of contestants – tipped the odds against Reggie, the only differently-abled contestant.
Shortly after winning Big Brother back in 2003, Reggie was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that gradually causes blindness. In her own words, she was ‘disadvantaged’ by not having sight, describing her vision as ‘looking through a straw’.
Which is why the latest challenge on Big Brother did not sit well with audiences. In a last-ditch effort to avoid eviction, Taras, Estelle, and Reggie were required to build a bridge using the pieces provided. Except, the construction required comparing the size, shape, and order of the pieces, which – people pointed out – would be tougher for Reggie with her condition.
— Big Brother AU (@BigBrotherAU) July 5, 2022
“What a BS challenge! The bridge was redundant and only made to slow the vision impaired housemate down. Not cool. #BBAU,” said a Twitter user.
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What a BS challenge! The bridge was redundant and only made to slow the vision impaired housemate down. Not cool. 😤 #BBAU
— Jaime Fox (@essential_jaime) July 5, 2022
“#BBAU you created a challenge that required an almost blind person to build a bridge. You seriously set it up for #Regi to lose because she had NO chance of winning the challenge. She is too slow and needs to constantly balance herself to stop from falling.” another user added.
#BBAU you created a challenge that required an almost blind person to build a bridge. You seriously set it up for #regi to lose because she had NO chance of winning the challenge. She is too slow and needs to constantly balance herself to stop from falling.
— Ms 🐝🐝G~ 💉💉💉 (@MsAussie_G) July 5, 2022
Some also pointed out that this is not the first time calls for making the challenges more inclusive have been made. People have been pointing out the ableist nature of the challenges since the last season – evidently to no avail.
“I’ll say it again. If you’re going to use competitions as a main element of the format, don’t make them for the selective few… make them for everybody. This is supposed to be a fair game. It’s been the same since 2020. You would think they would learn. #BBAU #BigBrotherAU,” added another.
I’ll say it again. If you’re going to use competitions as a main element of the format, don’t make them for the selective few… make them for everybody.
— Big Brother Returns (@BBAUReturns) July 5, 2022
The conversation becomes more prominent given the fact that Reggie was brutally trolled online for her condition, with many claiming she was faking her condition.
“A lot of people are saying, ‘Oh, she’s faking,'” she says. “But who would ever want to fake being blind? They don’t know me, or the challenges I deal with every day. I’m a strong person and I think people who leave comments like that have issues.” she addressed her trolls in a TV Week interview earlier this year.
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Check out more tweets calling Big Brother out on ableist challenges:
With that much at stake, how can that be a fair challenge for Reggie? Mean girl behaviour putting her in a hopeless position #BBAU
— Wally James (@Misss_Wendy) July 5, 2022
Big Brother tries to show equality and diversity by having a legally blind person on the show… then completely ignores their right to a fair fight for the win by consistently making unfair challenges they have no real chance of winning #BBAU
— Tinkerbell ⁷🧚♀️ – Jack in the Box (@justpromisemin) July 5, 2022
The clear ableism in these challenges knowing that Reggie is disadvantaged is absolutely deplorable from the producers!! #BBAU
— Suzie (@snoozeysuzie) July 5, 2022
So many of these challenges are unfair on someone with vision issues. I really thought they’d treat Reggie better than this #bbau
— Dani 🏳️🌈 (@DoubleDani) July 5, 2022
Why the hell did production even bother inviting Reggie when all they've done is try to humiliate her with this ableist shit, she deserves better.
— calmlonewolf (@calmwhitewolf) July 5, 2022
How is this challenge fair for Reggie??! That couldn’t come up with something that gave everyone an equal chance and relied less on vision?? #BBAU
— 🇱🇰🇩🇿 (@vlada_sasha) July 5, 2022
Do you think it’s fair having an almost blind person doing a challenge like this? Could you not have done a mental competition so it was fair for all participants? What a joke. #BBAU #BigBrotherAU https://t.co/WeICwjWkLu
— Big Brother Returns (@BBAUReturns) July 5, 2022
— Guy Ⓥ🎗🌱 (@greysfan) July 5, 2022
Reggie has not once complained or expected things to be altered for her, but when her fate literally depends on it could they not pick a challenge that has an even playing field for her and her vision.. #BBAU
— jedda 🐱 (@jeddamindtricks) July 5, 2022