Former boxer Evander Holyfield is getting what’s left of his ears pinned back after expressing his “extremely offensive” views about homosexuality during a conversation with a roommate on Celebrity Big Brother UK.
The boxer kicked a hornet’s nest when he compared being gay to a “handicap” on the British reality show and said that being gay is a choice. (RELATED: Evander Holyfield: Being gay ‘ain’t nomal’ [VIDEO])
“That ain’t normal,” Holyfield said to roommate Luisa Zissman when asked if there were any gay boxers and if so, why they had not come out.
According to Holyfield, it is an issue of right or wrong.
“If you were born and your leg was turned this way,” he said, motioning outward, “then you’d go to the doctor and get it fixed back, right?”
The retired heavyweight champion best known for his two defeats of Mike Tyson was reprimanded on the air by one Zissman and by “Big Brother,” the show’s disembodied controller voice. But a host of commenters, including former Culture Club front man Boy George, say the disciplining doesn’t go far enough.
Just catching up on #cbb Can’t believe Evander Holyfield didn’t get kicked out for saying being gay is a choice. C5 bottled it big time.
— Ian Hyland (@HylandIan) January 5, 2014
Zissman protested, saying it is not about getting fixed, but rather who a person is. She added that the Big Brother house was not the place to have “this conversation.”
“All I’m trying to tell you…you know how handicapped people is born, now you can’t say because they were born that way you can’t move that,” Holyfield said.
When Zissman said “you can’t compare” the two, “it is not a choice,” Holyfied responded, “yes it is a choice.”
After the conversation, the former boxer received a stern reprimand from the show producers during Holyfield’s Diary Room segment.
“Before entering the Big Brother house the rules regarding unacceptable language and behavior were explained to you. Last night in a conversation with Luisa you expressed the view that being gay was not normal and that it could be fixed. While Big Brother understands these are the views you hold, they aren’t the views that I hope a large section of society and expressing the views will be offensive to many people,” the producer said. “Do you understand why?”
A chastised Holyfield said he understood why his comments could be offensive and responded , “I forgot about the thing, I thought I was just telling her my opinion.”
“Big Brother does not tolerate the use of offensive language and must therefore warn you to consider very carefully the effect expressing such views may have and the harm and offense you may cause by repeating those views inside the house,” the ominous voice of the producer scolded. “You understand, Evander?”
“I do,” Holyfield said.
Despite the on-camera reprimand, people have already called for Holyfield to be kicked off the show entirely.
“The producers of Big Brother will continue to monitor this and will take further appropriate action should a similar matter arise again,” a CBB spokesman said in a statement to the UK Mirror.
Last month Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson was suspended from the A&E show after he expressed similar anti-gay views in a GQ interview. After massive backlash A&E reinstated Robertson.