There Are Two Victims In The CBB 'Assault' Drama - And We Must Be Kind To Both Of Them
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Whether you are an avid fan of the Channel 5 show or not, you will no doubt be aware of the recent scandal that has rocked this year's series of Celebrity Big Brother.
Indeed, Roxanne Pallett's claims that fellow soap star Ryan Thomas "punched [her] repeatedly, unprovoked and completely deliberately" have dominated headlines, panel shows and our social media feeds for the past few days - primarily because viewers, thanks to the surveillance-style nature of the reality show, witnessed the incident firsthand.
They watched Thomas playfully jab the air around Pallett's ribs. They saw the Emmerdale actress seemingly laugh off the incident as a joke. And they, too, were there when Pallett demanded to speak to producers in the Diary Room, where she tearfully informed them that Thomas had physically assaulted her.
"I went from being upset to being angry, because a boy has punched me repeatedly, unprovoked," she said. "And we weren't play fighting, there was no banter, it wasn't a joke," she claimed.
Thomas was issued with a formal warning over the incident, while Pallet begged to sleep in a separate room because she no longer felt "safe" in the shared bedroom. To many viewers, this was more than just an "overreaction" - it was a calculated move, purposefully carried out in order to shake Thomas.
Likewise, a number of Pallett's former colleagues came forward to criticise their "bullying" co-star, darkly implying that she had made "false allegations" of violence against male co-stars before.
"What about all the other accusations you've made along the years?" tweeted Charley Webb, who plays Debbie Dingle in the ITV soap. "If those cameras hadn't have been there, [Ryan] would be finished. End of."
Thankfully, though, those cameras were there. And, after a few incredibly tense days, and 11,000 Ofcom complaints, Thomas was left sobbing in relief as he heard CBB audience members chanting the words "get Roxy out" - indicating that his version of events hadn't just been noted by the public, but believed.
The situation was very different for Pallett, however. Just hours after Ben Jardine's eviction, the actress begged to be allowed to leave the Big Brother.house. Producers were all too happy to oblige, ushering the actress out the back door under the cover of darkness.
She did not have to face the baying crowds, she did not have to sit through an interview with Emma Willis, she did not pass 'Go', and she reportedly did not collect her £75,000 fee. Instead, all of her personal social media accounts were promptly deactivated, and the public celebrated her hasty exit with unbridled glee, sharing a slew of "ding dong, the witch is dead" memes on social media.
In short, Thomas has been held up as the wronged party: he is a victim, in need of our support. Pallett, on the other hand, has been painted as a monstrous liar: a cruel and vindictive woman, who has undermined the words of thousands of domestic violence victims in crying "wolf" for the sake of a TV show's popularity contest.
Indeed, during her appearance on Channel 5's debut Jeremy Vine show (her first interview since leaving Big Brother. this weekend), Pallett even fed into this narrative herself, insisting she owed Thomas an apology...
- Intrusive memories of the abuse
- Loss of interest in other people and the outside world
- Outbursts of anger
- Overwhelming feelings of sadness, fear, despair, guilt or self-hatred
- Physical pain that migrates throughout the body
- An inability to imagine a positive future
And, in dismissing Pallett as a Machiavellian monster with a game plan, we are undoing all the good work achieved by the #IBelieveHer campaign earlier this year. Instead, we feed-into this dangerous narrative that the burden of proof is on the victim: that false allegations are common and that innocent people suffer as the result of being wrongfully accused.
Words by: Rosanna Woods