Big Brother 22 contestant Ian Terry discussed being on the autism spectrum with his fellow Big Brother: All-Stars castmates. In August 2020, Ian explained (via Us Weekly), “Being on the spectrum isn’t my identity. I’m a smart guy, I have a great family, friends, girlfriend, and I won Big Brother.” One BB houseguest who took the time to understand was Kaysar Ridha.
Kaysar told Ian, “It’s what makes people great. And not to take away from people who do struggle severely from [autism], or parents who have to raise children who [have it], so I don’t want to overstep in any way, but at the same time, it’s a point of strength honestly, and I don’t mean to bring it up, and I know it’s a sensitive topic, but I do want you to know I actually do really care.” In response, Ian said, “It’s unique, but it’s a good thing… It’s just a different ability.” Kaysar wanted to learn more about Ian and praise him for his differences, but the same cannot be said for all of the houseguests.
TMZ shared a clip from the Big Brother 22 live feed that has Big Brother alums and viewers fuming with anger and disappointment. Memphis Garrett, Dani Briones, Christmas Abbott, and Nicole Franzel mocked Ian for being on the autism spectrum, something he’s been very open about this season. Disheartened Big Brother alums addressed this behavior on social media, in addition to standing up for Ian and other people with differing abilities.
Memphis, Dani, and Nicole mocked Ian's self-soothing techniques
On Big Brother, Ian Terry shared that one of his go-to self-soothing techniques is rocking his body back and forth, a tendency that some housemates cruelly made fun of. In a video from the live feeds (via TMZ), Memphis Garrett imitated Ian while Nicole Franzel laughed hysterically. He described Ian as “f**king weird,” said Ian “scares” him,” and compared him to “redrum” in the movie The Shining.
Dani Briones said she “can’t even look at [Ian] sometimes because [of] his constant movement,” claiming it “stresses” her out, a sentiment Nicole agreed with. Dani remarked, “I feel mean saying that, but I’ll literally have to move.” CBS hasn’t addressed the situation, but Big Brother alums sure have, even Dani’s own father Dick Donato expressed disappointment in her remarks and refusal to change her behavior. Dick tweeted, “Dani already got a heads up in the DR over saying Ian was using [his] autism for strategy. Then she’s part of this… Disappointing.”
Jodi Rollins, who was on Big Brother 14 with Ian, tweeted, “Not cool. I love Ian. He opened up about being on the spectrum and this is what he gets!?” Janelle Pierzina, who was evicted from Big Brother 22, told Jodi that she’s “absolutely disgusted” by the way Ian has been treated. Janelle responded to a video of Memphis, Nicole, Dani, and Christmas Abbott “joking” about Ian, saying, “Instead of laughing they should be standing up for Ian. He has a disability.”
Other 'Big Brother' alums defended Ian
In response to Memphis Garrett referring to Ian Terry as “so f**king weird,” Kat Dunn posted, “No Memphis, YOU’RE acting so f**king weird it’s freaking ME the f**k out.” Kat also tweeted, “If you’re on the spectrum and watching these clips, please don’t feel ‘weird’ or any less amazing than you are.”
Kaysar Ridha addressed his castmates’ remarks, tweeting, “Hey houseguests… here’s what gave ME anxiety when [Ian] walked into the room. How can someone so smart, sweet, compassionate, and thoughtful as Ian feel so nervous about how people perceived him, will treat him, and be let down by him. Change your perspective!!!” He added, “People on the spectrum are some of the best our society has to offer. I’m mortified by the actions of these Big Brother houseguests. Before leaving I reminded Ian to never let anyone laugh at him. Ever. Period.”
Two-time Big Brother runner-up Paul Abrahamian said there’s “a special place in hell for those who make fun of people with disabilities.” He added that he hopes Ian “takes out Memphis” at some point this season.
In addition to receiving backlash, Nicole Franzel lost some brand partnerships. Olay confirmed to TMZ that they won’t work with her anymore. Fans also shared screenshots from Olay and Blanquil, brands that cut ties with her, and a winery that “doesn’t tolerate discrimination of any kind.” Hopefully these cast members will take the time to educate themselves, sincerely apologize, and change their behaviors in response.
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