Thursday, April 23, 2015

No police charges filed in Big Brother Mzansi's alleged rape incident but matter reported to the police; M-Net releases contestants.

No official police charges have yet been laid in Big Brother Mzansi's alleged rape incident which plunged the low-brow reality show shown on MultiChoice's DStv into scandal last week, but the matter has been reported to the police.

Big Brother Mzansi is produced by Endemol Shine Africa, and broadcast on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) as well as two 24/7 Big Brother Mzansi TV channels on DStv channels 197 and 198.

Scandal once again engulfed the show last week when Endemol Shine Africa booted the male contestant Adams (Siyanda Ngwenya, 24, Estcourt) and also removed the woman, Bexx (Axola Mbengo, 26 from Queenstown) "for her well-being" from the voyeuristic reality show last Monday evening, following alleged "sexual misconduct" which took place on Saturday night.

It came after Adams bragged to other contestants that he "dipped her but I don't think she remembers because she passed out". The distraught woman later told fellow contestants that she didn't consent to any sex with the man on Saturday night.

Earlier on the same night, she was pressed in-between the same man and another male contestant and were kissed and groped against her will. Both men were then cautioned by the producers about their inappropriate behaviour but were left in the house.

An evening of heavy drinking followed - the show regularly plies contestants with alcohol who booze it up into the late hours - after which the alleged rape incident occured. 

Although the reality show house is filled with cameras, M-Net says it is not certain of exactly what happened. It's also not clear why Endemol Shine Africa producers didn't step in to intervene immediately when they could no longer see what is happening to the contestants.

Last week M-Net appointed the law firm, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr - paid by M-Net, to investigate the incident of alleged sexual misconduct.

During last year's season of Big Brother Mzansi, M-Net called a man hitting a woman in the show "an isolated incident".

M-Net tells TV with Thinus that Endemol Shine Africa has reported the matter to the police. At this time however no charges have been laid.

M-Net says it "views the incident in a serious light" and is reiterating that "the well-being of the contestants remains of utmost importance". 

M-Net confirms that both contestants are now back home. "Any possible further action will be informed by the findings of the investigation," says the pay-TV broadcaster.

The Sunday Times on Sunday reported that Axola Mbengo who was allegedly kept away from her family in the hotel she was placed in after she was removed from the house, made a secret call to her family to say that she "wasn't supposed to talk to the outside world".

A family member said Axola Mbengo was getting legal advice, but was worried that the lawyer "could be working for the Big Brother Mzansi people, trying to fix the matter for themselves so that their name is not ruined".

M-Net didn't respond to specific questions put to the pay-TV broadcaster asking whether the contestants were indeed held against their will in the hotel and not allowed to communicate and call family members, how long the investigation is expected to take, and when there would be a report.