When does behavior on a reality show crossover into sexual harassment? And what should production do about it when it does? On Sunday’s Big Brother, the episode spent a good amount of time detailing questionable behavior from Frank directed at female houseguests. It appears to put all of them in a tough spot. As long as he’s running the gameplay–which he has for the past couple of weeks–how does a female set boundaries without jeopardizing her game?
Bridgette is Head of Household this week, but it might as well be Frank. She put Paul and Tiffany up on the block after he manipulated her gameplay, with the latter being his target. To make matters worse, he won the Roadkill challenge and chose Bronte in order to keep the target squarely on Tiffany’s back.
In other words, Frank is in power, and the girls he’s harassing fear standing up to him. Some of the examples of harassment include aggressive horseplay with Nicole in the pool, telling Zak to pull her shirt down over sports bra, then calling her a “hussy” after she refused, peeking in at Da’Vonne as she’s taking a shower. In fact, Day seems to bear the brunt of what he calls “jokes” and it bothers her a lot. In diary she’s in tears, afraid she’ll be evicted if she says something. Frank swats Day in the ass, and that’s the last straw for her. He walks in on her crying afterward, and he eventually apologizes.
Of course, he takes little responsibility for his behavior, claiming he only acts that way toward people he “feels close to.” He pinches his mom and his Nana’s butt all the time, he says. When he finally takes Day aside to apologize it’s one of those, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings” type of apologies. He clearly doesn’t feel like he’s done anything wrong.
And don’t you know it. He’s already plotting to get Day out before Jury. He’s afraid she’ll bad mouth him to the rest of the house. If Frank remains dominant next week, she could be the next one to go. Sorry Day! You just needed to do a better job of putting up and shutting up!
The situation reminds me of Season 16, when Caleb Reynolds literally stalked Amber Borzotra, even after it became clear that she just wasn’t into him. When she finally rebuffed him in no uncertain terms, the guys ganged up and evicted her. I wish CBS producers would step in when men harass and threaten the women. Gameplay should be treated like any workplace, where sexual harassment is a no no.
Here’s a cut of Frank harassing Da’vonne, including her reaction afterward.