Former boxer Evander Holyfield has come under fire after telling Luisa Zissman, his housemate on the United Kingdom’s “Celebrity Big Brother,” that being gay “ain’t normal” and can be “fixed,” on the episode that aired January 5.
Evander Holyfield made the anti-gay comments after being asked if there were any gay boxers.
“It don’t make no difference. If you’re born and your leg was turned this way, what do you do? You go to a doctor and get it fixed back right,” the Holyfield said; at that point, Zissman suggested changing the topic of conversation, deeming it inappropriate for the house.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed that it was assessing several complaints, but would not confirm how many. “No decision to formally investigate has yet been made at this stage,” an Ofcom spokesman told press.
Boy George took a shot at Holyfield on Twitter, saying “Shame, I had such admiration for Mr. Evander Holyfield, he seemed dignified and I was sure he was a cool, smart, giant!” The singer later tweeted: “At customs there should be a huge sign! Welcome to Britain, racism, sexism, homophobia and bad hair are not tolerated!”
After the conversation, the “Big Brother” production team called Holyfield to the diary room to discipline him and remind him of the show’s rules regarding unacceptable language and behavior.
“While ‘Big Brother’ understands these are the views you hold, they aren’t the views that are held by a large section of society, and expressing these views will be extremely offensive to many people,” said the producers, according to The Independent. “Do you understand why?”
Holyfield responded, “Yes I understand why. I thought I was just, I forgot about the thing. I was just telling her my opinion but it’s not like I was going to mention [it]to anybody else. It was just our conversation.”
He has yet to apologize for his remarks.