On Sunday night’s broadcast of "Celebrity Big Brother U.K.," Evander Holyfield, former Undisputed World Champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight boxing divisions, responded to a question from former "Apprentice U.K." star Luisa Zissman in a manner that didn't sit well with producers (via a MediaIte video clip). Zissman asked him if there are any gay boxers in the sport, and Holyfield replied that there were no openly gay boxers, but that there probably were some.
I think it’s good to be open like that. It’s normal.
At that point, Holyfield went on an anti-gay rant. He compared homosexuality to a disability -- something physicians could fix. Holyfield said that homosexuality is “not normal,” and that it doesn't matter if, as many say, you’re born that way.
If you are born, and your leg is turned this way, you go to the doctor and get it turned right back.
Although Zissman tried to end the conversation there, Holyfield continued.
Unlike the U.S. version of the show, where there are not explicit rules about conduce and "opinions expressed," the U.K. show warns contestants of “rules regarding unacceptable language and behavior.” Holyfield, in fact, was taken aside and warned by a producer in the show’s confessional room of the following:
You expressed the view that being gay was not normal and could be fixed. Whilst "Big Brother" realizes these are the views you hold, they are not the views held by many people in society, and expressing these views will be seen as offensive to many people.
Holyfield then explained that he had forgotten about the rule -- although Zissman did try to remind him of it -- and was just voicing his opinion.
However, the producer warned him again.
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 these views inside the house.
Holyfield responded with his understanding, saying “Okay, then."
The video of the incident is embedded.