Monday, February 17, 2014

BREAKING. M-Net on Big Brother Mzansi violence: 'Viewers understand that these isolated incidents do not represent our brand'.

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M-Net spoke out on Monday following yet another violent incident in a Big Brother season filmed on African soil in which a male contestant slapped a woman, telling TV with Thinus that M-Net believes that viewers understand that these violent incidents don't represent the M-Net brand.

It follows after the Big Brother Mzansi contestant Mbali Zulu (26) was expelled on Saturday after slapping the seated Iris Miya, grabbing her head as he stood in front of her and had to be pushed off by another female contestant.

Big Brother Mzansi with South African contestants is shown on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel on MultiChoice's DStv, and a two further dedicated Big Brother Mzansi TV channels are provided and playing non-stop on DStv.

Interestingly Vuzu (DStv 116), another M-Net supplied TV channel to DStv, had to very recently abruptly cancel and halt production of an already commissioned new reality show, Raising the Bar, after the flamboyant choreographer and socialite Somizi Mhlongo was involved in a violent fist fight also captured on camera during production.

"M-Net does not condone violence and will continue to take action against it, as necessary, as it has in the past," said Yolisa Phahle, M-Net's director for local interest channels.

"We are of the opinion that our viewers understand that these isolated incidents do not represent our brand and as such, continue to enjoy hundreds of hours of local content available on our channels," she told TV with Thinus.

"The safety of reality show contestants continues to be M-Net's paramount concern, so all contestants are screened intensively and undergo vigorous psychological, as well as medical assessments, with highly qualified practitioners within these fields prior to their selection for any reality show," says Yolisa Phahle.

The Randburg-based pay-TV broadcaster also produced and provided all previous seasons of the pan-African version of the show, Big Brother Africa which have been filmed in Johannesburg, South Africa, and provided to DStv to show across the African continent.

Prior to Mbali Zulu's expulsion from Big Brother Mzansi on Saturday, the South African pay-TV broadcaster had to expel contestants from Big Brother Africa as well for violent transgressions.

In 2010 Endemol South Africa and M-Net had to expel Hannington Kuteesa after fighting with a female contestant, and in 2013 contestant Nando was given the boot.

"The rules prohibiting violence and provocation in the Big Brother house are clear and communicated extensively," said Yolisa Phahle when asked whether, given the previous violence which took place in Big Brother Africa, additional or other measures were employed or used for Big Brother Mzansi.

"M-Net and series producers Endemol South Africa will continue to take action when these rules are broken," she says.