Remember when a number of Big Brother stars were exposed mocking their autistic housemate?
Actions have consequences. In Nicole Franzel’s case, brands cannot distance themselves from her quickly enough.
Olay was one of the first brands that addressed Nicole Franzel’s ableist behavior on Big Brother.
“Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention,” the beauty brand tweeted at concerned fans, and not for the first time.
“We no longer have a business relationship with this person and have no plans for future work together,” Olay affirmed. “We have zero-tolerance for bullying and we do not support the behavior displayed by this person.”
Chateau Ste. Michelle, a winery based in Washington, also affirmed that they no longer have any ties with the now-controversial reality star.
“Hello, thank you for bringing the situation regarding Nicole Franzel and the current season of Big Brother to our attention,” they tweeted.
“We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind,” the brand affirmed. “We are reviewing the matter and will follow-up with our course of action. Thank you again.”
“Our connection with Nicole was made prior to her joining the current show,” the winemaking brand later clarified.
“We took immediate action to review once we learned of the situation & have thus decided to end our collaboration now and in the future,” Chateau Ste. Michelle added.
The tweet concluded: “We do not tolerate or condone discrimination or bullying of any kind.”
So what is the scandal that has sponsors dropping Nicole left and right?
It started with a look at the 24-hour live cams in the Big Brother House, where she and Dani Briones were discussing Ian, a fellow houseguest.
Ian is autistic, as they well know, and he sometimes moves — a movement pattern called “rocking” — as a simple coping mechanism.
“I can’t even look at him sometimes,” Dani confessed to Nicole on camera, “because [of] his constant movement.”
She then went on to express: “It stresses me out.”
“I feel mean saying that,” Dani claimed, “but I’ll literally have to move to a point where I can’t see him.”
This was not even the only incident, as there was also a video of Memphis Garrett mocking Ian’s mannerisms and taking a dig at his vocabulary.
This would be rude to say about anyone, but they all know that Ian is autistic just as they know that they are on camera. That they know does make this worse.
And in the footage of Memphis mocking Ian, we see Nicole, Dani, and Christmas Abbot laughing and giggling as if it weren’t ableist and cruel.
Fans are still wondering if producers will avoid this footage or will feature it front and center in an upcoming episode.
Whether they do or not, the dedicated fans who watch the feeds made sure that the news went viral.
And of course some now-former houseguests took to social media to share their disgust.
“Instead of laughing,” Janelle Pierzina suggested on Twitter, “they should be standing up for Ian.”
She then explained to any of her followers who may need reminding: “He has a disability.”
Janelle noted that she was “absolutely disgusted” by what she, and so many fans, had seen.
“Inside the BB house reflects society’s failures when it comes to our handling of diversity,” Kaysar Ridha said in his own Twitter post.
“We could use a lesson in empathy & awareness,” he reflected..
Kaysar has touched on many subjects and various forms of bigotry, and he made sure that he had time to discuss the ableism directed towards Ian.
“Ppl who are neurodiverse & on the spectrum should be protected not trashed,” Kaysar emphasized.
He stated: “I have zero tolerance on this issue #BB22.”
That is very correct of him. There is no excuse for this behavior.
One interesting detail to contemplate is that the stars themselves do not actually know that they went viral.
In particular, Nicole does not yet know about the sponsorships that have been very publicly severing all ties with her.
She is in for one seriously rude awakening. Womp womp.