In recent weeks, several housemates from Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Connect were in hot waters for things they have done or said during their stay in the famous Bahay ni Kuya.
For one, Justin Dizon of Pampanga, dubbed the “Courageous Cabalen ng Pampanga,” was berated by netizens for his seemingly insensitive comment on one of his fellow housemates. (Read: CBCP decries ABS-CBN shutdown, says Filipinos need reliable news sources)
Dizon was allegedly heard mocking Jie-Ann from Sarangani, calling her madumi (dirty) for not being able to bathe every day. This was despite Jie-Ann previously sharing that she couldn’t shower daily because of a lack of water in their province.
Dizon eventually became the first evictee of the reality TV show, as he received more votes to evict than to save from the audience.
Controversial Political Opinions
A few weeks later, new PBB housemates were under fire for statements they made during the show. Russu Laurente of General Santos and Crismar Menchavez of Palawan both received negative comments over social media for a revelation they made in Big Brother’s confession room: They both said “yes” to ABS-CBN shutdown back in May. (Read: CBCP decries ABS-CBN shutdown, says Filipinos need reliable news sources)
“Marami po nagsasabi sa akin ‘di ba noong panahon [na ‘yon] is halos sumang-ayon ka o sumama ka sa mga nagpapasasara, bakit ngayon nag-audition ka sa Big Brother?” Laurente said. “Sinabi ko po na ‘yung mga panahon na iyon is hindi ko pa na-realize or nalaman ‘yung totoong sitwasyon… hindi ko pa nalagay ‘yung sarili ko sa sitwasyon ng mga taong ‘yon.”
Menchavez, on the other hand, said that he didn’t post on social media his thoughts on the issue, but said that in his mind, he said yes to the shutdown. “Kahit hindi ko siya pinost or everything but I agreed to the shutdown and I am ashamed of it,” he told Big Brother. (Read: ABS-CBN Employees Share How the Franchise Denial Affected Their Lives)
Both housemates apologized for their previous opinions on the shutdown of the network giant and Big Brother forgave them. But despite their apologies, Russu was still nominated and got evicted from the house that week.
How Did PBB Select Its Housemates?
Despite Big Brother forgiving Laurente and Menchavez, netizens still questioned the selection process for PBB housemates. They wondered how the staff missed that two of their chosen individuals were for the shutdown of the very network that produces the hit reality show.
To address the issue, Star Magic head and head director Laurenti Dyogi, explained their process of choosing their housemates. “Ang priority namin talaga nu’n is sa personality. At that time naman, hindi naman namin talaga tinatanong: ‘Ano ba ang political leaning mo? Kanino ka ba naniniwala?'” he said.
Direk Lauren added that they do background checks of the housemates through their social media, but had no idea that Laurente tweeted about his stance on the ABS-CBN shutdown. (Read: 3 Instances Where Leni Robredo Stood up to Fake News Attacks)
“We didn’t know about Russu [Laurente] saying those things,” the director explained. He added that they also didn’t know that Dizon was outspoken about his criticisms about the Duterte administration. (Read: 3 Ways to Avoid ‘Cancel Culture’ in Social Media)
“Nu’ng napili na namin si Justin [Dizon], doon lang namin nalaman na ahh… very vocal siya, ganyan. But it wasn’t part of our criteria,” Dyogi said.
Direk Lauren also clarified that they didn’t plan to put these people together to stir controversy inside the house. He said that while it is unfortunate that the network is trapped in the middle, it was not a conscious decision to put these housemates who share differing opinions together in the house.