Saturday, February 15, 2014

BREAKING. M-Net and DStv's growing TV violence problem: Big Brother Mzansi contestant Mbali Zulu expelled after violent physical attack.

The South African pay-TV broadcaster M-Net sits with what appears to be a growing TV violence problem which is starting to seriously jeopardise and negatively impact on M-Net and DStv's brand and reputation after the Big Brother Mzansi contestant Mbali Zulu (26) was expelled today following a violent physical attack against another contestant.

The TV violence in Big Brother Mzansi on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) on DStv and the ejection of Mbali Zulu who suddenly turned violent, follows after M-Net's other local general entertainment TV channel Vuzu (DStv 116) on DStv also had to suddenly halt production and cancel Somizi Mhlongo's announced reality show Raising the Bar - also due to a violent altercation on-set in which Somizi Mhlongo was allegedly involved.

In the violent incident which led to his expulsion, the cussing Mbali Zulu could be seen slapping the seated female contestant Iris Miya in the face as he then moved to toweringly stand over her, and then grabbed her head. 

"Why do you slap me?! Why do you slap me?!" Iris Miya screamed. Fellow female contestant Jenayne Jenneker jumped up from the couch she was laying on and tried to push Mbali Zulu off, and away from, Iris Miya.

"Dont touch her like that!" said Jenayne Jenneker rushing to the other contestant's defence. "How can you do that to her? No, f- off! Don't touch her! Don't touch her like that! Why do you touch her face like that?"

"Because I can," said Mbali Zulu.

"No you can't you don't have the right. You don't f- touch her like that!" said Jenayne Jenneker.

"You're not involved!" said Mbali Zulu. "I'm involved because you did it in front of me!" said Jenayne Jenneker.

Mbali Zulu, a marketing coordinator from Soweto who has a 3 year old daughter and who said he "wanted to influence as many young people as he can" before he entered the video camera filled house, clashed with Big Brother Mzansi contestant Iris Miya in what M-Net and Mzansi Magic calls "inappropriate physical action".

The shocking in-show violence is also nothing new for M-Net and Big Brother Mzansi production company Endemol South Africa, which continue to have contestants in Big Brother who exhibit violent outburts and who are then expelled.

In 2010 Endemol South Africa and M-Net had to expel Hannington Kuteesa from Big Brother Africa after fighting with a female contestant.

In 2013 Endemol South Africa and M-Net had to expel Nando from Big Brother Africa.

The ongoing violent provocation problem is starting to raise serious questions as to why M-Net and Endemol South Africa continue with a show format which appears to breed and ferment on-screen violence.

Has stronger measures been instituted to screen, select and warn contestants of the repercussions of physically attacking and provoking other people?

Mzansi Magic says Mbali Zulu has been "disqualified" for "breaking the rule strictly prohibiting violence" and that Endemol South Africa and Mzansi Magic will "continue to take action against any violation of the game's rules".

What is M-Net and Endemol South Africa's responsibility as a production company as broadcaster and content generators? What is MultiChoice's responsibility as a pay-TV platform broadcasting and bringing content such as this to viewers?

Is it good enough and appropriate to just expel a contestant that Endemol South Africa and M-Net had a hand in choosing and putting on television on DStv, in an almost passive, retro-active way?

Yet another violent incident in a version of Big Brother filmed on African soil really raises questions as to the ethics and the modus operandi involved in continuing to produce and broadcast a TV reality show in which the people behind it seem unable to control violent incidents from happening - and from bringing that into viewers' living rooms.