CBB Scandal: Why the Jeremy and Chloe Incident Goes Far Beyond the House


Every now and then on this blog, Lauren and I like to take a break from waffling on about nail varnishes and write the occasional opinion piece or feature. Usually these are more serious pieces, so you might think it’s a bit odd that I’m actually writing about Celebrity Big Brother. But last night’s episode has caused such a stir and raised so many issues to me that I think it definitely deserves to be addressed.

For those of you who didn’t see last night’s episode of Celebrity Big Brother (what do you mean you have social lives?) the incident in question went briefly like this. Jeremy Jackson, who from what I gather is famous in America for being a child star gone wild, was kicked out of the house after drunkenly pulling open the dressing gown of Chloe Goodman, one-time reality star and occasional glamour model. It happened while they were in the bathroom together as she looked after him while he was throwing up a mixture of vodka and rum. She suddenly left the bathroom, shaken and upset, and went and reported the incident in the Diary Room. When questioned on what had happened, Jeremy denied any malicious intent, saying, amongst other things, that 1. he thought she had a bikini on underneath the robe, 2. he thought she was flirting with him and 3. his actions were just playful and curious.

Most people dismiss these sort of reality shows as complete garbage, claiming there is nothing remotely real about them and they don’t have any relevance to everyday people or lives. However, I think this incident actually flagged up some key  issues that go far beyond the action itself.

Firstly, while justifying himself to other housemates after the event, Jeremy said one thing that stuck out to me. As he rambled about how he had misunderstood the situation and that he thought she was being flirty with him, thus making his actions okay, he uttered something along the lines of “Why would she be alone with me in that room naked?” This throwaway comment that nobody seemed to pick up on is actually really disturbing, with elements of the victim blaming mentality. She was in the bathroom with him in only a dressing gown, therefore of course she must be up for it.

Never mind the fact that she was dressed like that before she went in to help him. Never mind the fact he was sweating like a hog and throwing up at this point, making the chances of sexual attraction pretty low (I would rather crack on with Perez, thanks). Although the point wasn’t elaborated on, the lines left hanging in the air after what he said were ‘how was he to know she wasn’t keen? She was giving out mixed signals. She put herself in that situation.’


The other thing that shocked me after the episode was the attitude and comments that the general public were making on social media. On my own news feeds, the most popular opinion seemed to be that Chloe had completely overreacted to the incident. More worrying than this though, were the large amount of people saying things along the line of ‘Chloe gets her boobs out for money, so why is this such a big deal’. I can’t help but think that if Jeremy had done that to one of the older, more conservative women in the house, like Nadia, opinion wouldn’t have been so relaxed. Then it would have been a hugely inappropriate, humiliating and vulgar thing to do to a nice woman who was just trying to help. But because Chloe has been paid for topless modeling, the idea seems to be that her body is almost public property, and that she can’t possibly be upset when exposed against her will.

Chloe, clearly anticipating this reaction, several times repeated “I know that I’ve done page 3, but…” which I think is incredibly sad. As she quite astutely said, the issue for her was one of control. She has chosen to do topless modelling in the past; she had not chosen or consented to that happening. For those who said that Chloe overreacted and was faking her distress, I think I would actually react in much the same way if something like that had happened in a small bathroom with someone I barely knew.

Another disturbing moment came later in the episode, when Ken – this year’s resident gross bigot – took Chloe to one side and essentially reminded her that Jeremy was important in the industry, and that it may be best for her career if she didn’t make too much of a big deal of the incident. To me, this highlights the larger issues that young women are constantly taught to put up with random violations like this from quite a young age. And not even in relation to careers (though we know that does happen), but often just as part of everyday life. I’m sure most girls will have experienced the arse grab in a nightclub, if not worse. And while people choose to deal with those incidents in different ways, in a club they’re for the most part ignored and just seen as normal. Yet if that was to happen to you in a different situation, like at a bus stop in the middle of the day, you’d feel violated and assaulted. In the same way, if someone’s top was pulled open in public or at work, it would be taken seriously; not dismissed as ‘playful’, ‘an easy mistake’ or ‘nothing to cause a fuss over’.

Maybe Jeremy did mean nothing by the action, and maybe Chloe is a scheming attention seeker who decided to blow something small up when she wasn’t really bothered. The actual incident this time is almost irrelevant; what I found interesting was the amount of attitudes, all of which are very prevalent in today’s society, that this threw up both amongst the housemates and the general public. I think it’s so important to look at cases such as these and discuss them in the wider context, which is why I also think shows such as this do still have their place on TV and do still serve their original ‘social experiment’ purpose.

What do you all think of this incident? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!


8 Responses

  1. Cat Shaw January 11, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    I saw the episode last night, in fact I I always watch big brother and I agree I think it still has its place as a social experiment and does throw a mirror up to the wider world. I was shocked at both the Chloe and Jeremy incident and the Ken incidents. It’s shocking that Jeremy thought the situation him and Chloe were in, i.e. she was trying to look after him whilst he was throwing up, could lead to some sort of legitimate and welcome sexual encounter, he clearly has no idea of boundaries and what is and is not acceptable. For him to think in whatever scenario they were in, as you say if they were in a club or in a work situation, that its ok to open a ladies rope, even if he thought she had a bikini on underneath, just seems completely unreal and it saddens and shocks me to think that he isnt the only man/person to think that this kind of beahvour is acceptable. To suggest Chloe would in any way be up for this because she has done page 3 or whatever, which seems to be what many people think on social media, is well quite frankly frightening and that she herself felt she had to put a caveat on her explanation of what happened to big brother is quite telling and again frightening. At the end of the day its her body and her choice and control, and what Jeremy did was wholly unacceptable and is deemed as assault.
    And as for Ken, the fact that he has not also been thrown out for his racist comment alone says a lot about how BB and society still does not recognise racism or take it seriously enough. And then further to that his other comments, to Chloe about how she could be risking future opportunities, the fact that he called Cami’s dress “half slut”, how he wanted to go in to the bathroom to see all the bums, i.e. perve on the ladies, his whole interaction with Alexander following the initial racist comment, I mean the list goes on, what is this guy on? Again totally scary and shocking and I think BB must remove him from the show!

    • Claire January 14, 2015 / 9:48 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! Definitely still a place for these programmes, and any that throw up social behaviours and issues we might otherwise not address. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Albertine January 11, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    I was really pleased they removed Jeremy, if anyone watched Chloe’s reaction, it was clear he made her uncomfortable, and whatever he did caused her to panic! I found it interesting that he never once denied what he did, he said he did exactly what she said he did, except that he tried to justify it, so whether or not it was ‘right’ in his mind, the fact that he did it was wrong and needed to be punished!

    Onto Ken…he really needs to be removed, he has tried to silence a harassed woman, made sexist remarks, repeatedly been racist (and tried to justify it) and generally makes everyone feel uncomfortable! I’m really upset that Channel 5 and BB have been so careless with their choice of housemates this year, they have zero concern for people’s welfare, only thei views (and money) they bring in!

    • Claire January 14, 2015 / 9:49 pm

      I have to agree, there were concerns about Jeremy before he went in so maybe they should have been a bit more responsible with their choices. Glad that Ken has finally left! xx

  3. MC January 11, 2015 / 1:04 pm

    Good piece. A shocking incident and predictable reaction from some in a society steeped in misogyny. Predictable reaction too from a big man who thinks women are his sexual play things. If I’m not mistaken Chloe was not only helping him as he threw his guts up, but also trying to be kind to him after his sad comments that he only feels alive in the moments in between being sick. He then reacted by sexually assaulting her. Men have a big problem that needs to be addressed. The invoking of devil’s advocate at the end of this piece was unnecessary – the incident was important, as well as the reaction. Chloe was clearly not attention seeking and Jeremy needs to know this behaviour is totally unacceptable.

    • Claire January 14, 2015 / 9:53 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, worded much more eloquently than I managed! I’m glad I’ve managed to find more sensible opinions online since I first saw the content littering my news feed 🙂

  4. Dannielle January 11, 2015 / 10:55 pm

    I actually don’t watch Big Brother, but I loved this post. You make so many valid points – society can be pretty messed up when it comes to incidents like this! Too many people shrug things off that, really, should NOT be downplayed. Even worse, a lot of guys don’t seem to grasp what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour. I feel sorry for Chloe, far too many people will throw the Page 3 card at her, or say she overreacted – but she felt uncomfortable in a situation, so why should she have to keep quiet?

    • Claire January 14, 2015 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you so much, glad you liked the post 🙂 exactly, it’s almost as if because she’s chosen a certain career path people then don’t expect her to stop have human feelings or the same right for respect xx

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