Wednesday 21 March 2018

Opinion: Big Brother's Marc is a big bully

Marc's dislike for fellow housemate Harry has gone from a disagreement to a campaign of bullying, lies, rumours and intimidation.

Marc O'Neil from Kildare, Ireland, who entered the Big Brother house tonight, following the eviction of four of the current contestants. Photo: Channel 5/PA Wire
Marc O'Neil from Kildare, Ireland, who entered the Big Brother house tonight, following the eviction of four of the current contestants. Photo: Channel 5/PA Wire
Marc O'Neill and Jade Martina Lynch as Marc arrived in the Big Brother house
Clare Cullen

Clare Cullen

When Big Brother housemate Harry entered the house just over two weeks ago, I immediately disliked her.

The latex clothing, the blatant sexualisation of her personality and her general demeanour turned me off Harry from the start.

Marc, who entered with Harry, was another housemate I couldn't abide.

However, over the last two weeks both housemates have grown on me - for different reasons - but last night, I became firmly 'Team Harry'.

Marc has, over the last two weeks, mixed his fake, trouble-making, offensive personality with more genuine and somewhat endearing glimpses of his true, (slightly) more caring nature. Harry, on the other hand, has progressively regressed into her shell, chased in there by what I believe is a systematic system of bullying, initiated and driven by Marc.

Last night, what began as a feud between two housemates took a very nasty turn when Marc strutted, triumphant, into the house with three new housemates, two of which hated a girl they'd never met.

Harry had to sit on the couch and watch the 'timebomb housemates' (Previous winner Helen Wood and previous contestant Nikki Graham) wax lyrical about how much they hated her, calling her a "two-faced, lying b*tch", accuse her of using Nick and make assertions about her personality - despite never having met the woman.

Harry was not allowed right of reply as the two women tore into her via video feed. To add insult to injury, the four housemates then came into the house and ignored Harry, while her fellow housemates rushed to welcome them into the house.

Harry cut a very lonely figure, standing alone in the sitting room while everyone else chatted and hugged in the kitchen. Later, Helen Wood went on a rant about Harry's behaviour while Harry was washing the dishes less then ten feet away.

Harry kept very calm and told Helen "I haven't said hello to you yet. Maybe I'll talk to you once we've said hello" - drawing attention to the fact that both Helen and Nikki had still not acknowledged her presence, instead choosing to openly criticise her to everyone else, misquoting her and shouting her down when she tried to refute the claims.

The only 'timebomb housemate' to say hello to Harry (eventually) was Brian Belo, former winner. The fact that they didn't have the basic respect to acknowledge her as a human being drove me wild, and sent me spiralling firmly onto Team Harry. They were cruel, mean and horrible and there was absolutely no need for it.

In bed with Nick, Nikki told him she was there to "rescue him" and that he had to "get away from that sea witch". In the garden, they wasted no time poisoning Nick against Harry, where he didn't defend her, despite initiating cuddles with her five minutes before the new housemates arrived.

Harry spent the second half of the night in the bathroom, crying. Danny, who was the only housemate to stand up for Harry at any point during the night, went to check on her.

I was furious that Big Brother would allow a group to treat one individual like that without intervening. They called Harry to the diary room to ask if she was alright, where she wouldn't even face the camera. Harry comes across like a strong individual but the last week, in particular, has shown that she is badly equipped to handle being targeted in the way the house has done so.

I don't think bullying is an attractive pursuit, and it's certainly something I don't want to watch on television. As a former victim of bullying, it's heartbreaking to watch a large group circle one individual, eating away at her confidence and her mental health until she's reduced to hiding in the bathroom.

Up until Marc's fake eviction it seemed Harry could handle him and even the other housemates turning on her, but the addition of two Regina George- wannabes into the house appears like it could be too much.

Big Brother thrives on disagreement but there's a difference between a house-wide fight and a concentrated, multi-faceted smear campaign run by a gang of people with one person solely on the receiving end.

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