Big Brother’s Camilla Severi Opens Up About the Infamous 2006 “Turkey Slap”

Big Brother

In 2006, a “turkey slapping” incident involving Big Brother housemates Michael “John” Bric, Michael “Ashley” Cox and Camilla Severi changed the course of late-night television history in Australia.

Bric held down fellow contestant Severi, while Cox pulled down his pants and “slapped” her with his penis.

At the time, Big Brother Up Late was a popular spin-off, airing candid scenes that couldn’t be shown on prime-time television, however, after the “turkey slapping” incident (which never made it to air, but was streamed live online), it was taken off the air for good.

While both Bric and Cox were removed from the house within 24 hours, the incident had a long-lasting effect on the reality TV landscape and even brought in stricter alcohol policy for all reality shows.

And even though Severi had a job in radio post-Big Brother, the 36-year-old had kept quite mum on the subject.

In an appearance on The Ben, Rob & Robbo Show’s Big Brother recap show on June 15, she opened up about the experience.

“My feelings have changed about this subject a few times,” she told the co-hosts.

“At the time there was an enormous amount of hype, we had helicopters flying over the house with telephoto lenses and taking photos of me the day after the boys got taken off the show. That was scary, it was uncomfortable.

“A lot of people got hurt in that process, the boys were taken out of the show, it followed us all around.”

Severi also admitted it was just a “moment in time” and in the hundred days, “it was about 15 seconds of my time in the house” which made it quite a “confusing” experience.

“We were all mucking around and I’ve said this before, if it happened at a party and someone did that to me I’d probably say to them, ‘Hey that wasn’t cool’ and then we’d move on,” she said.

“But because it happened on live TV and it’s been dissected so, so many times from different angles, it was quite a confusing experience.

“I don’t know how the boys feel about it now, but where I’m at now with it is I feel like yes, it was, the boys didn’t mean any harm to me, they didn’t mean to hurt me and I actually didn’t mean to hurt them if I was upset the day afterwards.”

Severi also admitted during the interview that she was scarred by the ongoing attention.

“Look, I didn’t ask for that to happen and sometimes when people ask me about it I say, ‘Well, it’s really interesting this keeps following me around because I didn’t do it’,” she said.

“But am I scarred by it? No. What I’m scarred by is the constant attention, you know, and the fact that I went on to do eight years of breakfast radio, I have three beautiful children, I’m married, like I’ve got a really full life, I’m studying, there’s so much other stuff that’s going on in my life and this was like such a blip on the radar.”

WATCH: Camilla Severi on Eye on Big Brother – The Ben, Rob and Robbo Show. Story continues…

Following the incident in 2006, Severi told The Sydney Morning Herald that there was no love lost between her and the two men.

“I was uncomfortable for a split second in time, but the boys’ behaviour doesn’t make them any less loveable to me,” the then 22-year-old said.

“Everyone is talking about the scandal, but you can substitute anyone into that equation and the same thing would have happened.”

“All I can say is I know how I feel about the situation and I know who those people are and they know who I am,” she said.

“If there is any anger or hatred it hasn’t been on my behalf.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Yana Groves, who has worked in the reality TV space for nearly 20 years, said that the infamous incident was a “huge lesson for the industry”.

“It was pretty scary,” she says. “It was something that happened so unexpectedly that I think it rocked the reality world. The producers did everything they could in that situation — to do the right thing and take the right steps.”

After the occurrence, the footage was handed over to Queensland police, however, Severi declined the offer to press charges.

The footage never made it to the series, however, due to the 24-hour live stream of the house online, the story blew up and even the prime minister at the time, John Howard, weighed in.

“I think it is just a question of good taste,” Mr Howard told Macquarie Radio during an interview. “I don’t like heavy-handed regulation. The business community is always saying to me: ‘Let us self-regulate.’

“Well here’s a great opportunity for Channel Ten to do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid program off the air.”

That same day, the network responded by airing a sit-down interview hosted by Gretel Killeen, talking to the two men in the studio and Severi in the diary room.

She said that it was “just mucking around” and that it happened “in fun” and that she wasn’t “offended”.

I did think they took it a little bit too far,” she said. “But we laughed it off, and as soon as I said ‘enough’s enough’ it stopped,” she said.

The two men expressed their regret and apologised, however, Bric said that it had “been blown way out of proportion” by the media.

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