AUTISM AND BIG BROTHER ALL STARS

AUTISM AND BIG BROTHER ALL STARS

OPINON PIECE

Currently airing in the US is season 22 of Big Brother All Stars, where past winners come back to compete to be the overall Big Brother winner.

In this current mix is Ian Terry.

IAN TERRY

Ian Terry

Biography

Age: 29

Hometown: Pittsburgh

Current city: Houston

Occupation: Management consultant

Previous season: Big Brother 14 (winner)

Three adjectives that describe you: Eccentric, intelligent and inquisitive.

Favourite activities: I enjoy backgammon, running, technical analysis, reading, math puzzles, and studying maps.

Why do you want to play Big Brother again?

I’m a generally good games player, so if there’s a game being played for money where I have positive equity, I want in!

What do you think will be the most difficult part about living inside the Big Brother house?

Not being able to talk to or see my girlfriend, friends and family, as well as having to play politics 24/7.

Which past Big Brother cast member did you like most and why?

I like Johnny Mac from Big Brother 17. I loved his passive, relaxed, and intelligent playing style.

Additionally, he is a hoot in real life!

What is your strategy for winning the game?

I want to get into a decent alliance and try to win the first HOH, just to make sure I don’t get frozen out for being unpopular. Following that, hibernate. Towards the end of the game, I will ramp up and utilise my competition ability and take advantage of the game’s structure.

How does this strategy differ from the last time you played?

I’m definitely going to pepper in stronger tactical play to ensure that others are more willing to

work with me. Last time, nobody in the house was giving me good information, simply because I was socially unpopular—frustrating!

Have you changed/evolved since the last time you were on the show?

I’m much more mature and readily able to navigate social situations. Working as a physics teacher for a handful of years taught me a lot about building connections with others.

My life’s motto is…

“The pause is a part of the walk.”

What would you take into the house and why?

-My backgammon board. I saw that the house had one last year, but the one I have is top of the line.

-A few packs of cigarettes. I don’t smoke… in fact, I don’t see the appeal to it at all. That being said, I’d like to use these to forge bonds with those that like to casually smoke but didn’t bring any for themselves.

-My pet dinosaur Isaac. He’s funny and reminds me of my girlfriend and I’s quirky relationship.

Fun facts about yourself:

-I’m a championship level backgammon player and have earned a rating of “Master” on the most popular backgammon site on the web.

-I was given a letter of recognition from MIT for being an inspiring physics teacher when that was my day job.

-My girlfriend and I refer to a dinosaur puppet named Isaac as our pet. He even has his own backstory and personality.

-I once attempted to memorise and label a map of every county in the United States for a bet. I

got through memorizing the counties in four large states with perfect accuracy before getting bored and buying out of the bet.

-I’m a card-carrying member of Mensa, which I joined after taking an IQ test to settle a bet (yes, I won the bet).

So, you’ve read up to this bit and are probably wondering why I’m writing a blog post about a reality show contestant.

Well, footage began to circulate from the live feeds of other contestants discussing Ian and his rocking (see video below)

https://share.tmz.com/videos/2020-09-10-091020-big-brother-4848759/

Now I’m not going to discuss the fall out from this, because I don’t want to give those who mocked him a platform but here’s where I have an issue with the way it was handled.

They failed on so many levels here, they haven’t addressed this on the show and none of them have been affected by any consequences, no Autistic experts were bought in via video link to address Ian’s rocking and why mocking people’s Autistic traits is bullying, no one from the production company, the network or the host have sat them all down and asked those that mocked Ian’s rocking to explain themselves, and why was this footage allowed to go to air, and when they began mocking him did they not cut the live feed? Do they really need the attention and ratings that much that they’re willing to stream footage of an Autistic man being mocked for entertainment value?

I personally wonder what measures they had in place when they were aware that Ian was Autistic? Surely, they would have started a conversation with the other housemates to ensure that Ian never experienced this type of behaviour for simply being himself.

It’s a shame that these people and this show chose to reflect how they handle diversity and disability on a national platform.

Ian deserved better than this, the show has failed in its duty of care and in it’s appalling handling of this entire situation.

I’ll leave you with the only person who was there for Ian to have the final word

Kaysar Ridha an eliminated contestant is quoted as saying the following

“People on the spectrum are some of the best our society has to offer,” he wrote. “I’m mortified by the actions of these Big Brother houseguests. Before leaving I reminded Ian to never let anyone laugh at him. Ever. Period.”

“Inside the BB house reflects society’s failures when it comes to our handling of diversity,” he continued. “We could use a lesson in empathy & awareness. People who are neurodiverse & on the spectrum should be protected not trashed. I have zero tolerance on this issue.”

He added, “Hey houseguests… here’s what gave ME anxiety when [Ian] walked into the room. How can someone so smart, sweet, compassionate, and thoughtful as Ian feel so nervous about how people perceived him, will treat him, and be let down by him. Change your perspective!!!”

Carry On The Conversation

Have you watched this season of BB All Stars?

What are your thoughts about Ian’s treatment?

As always, I can also be found on Twitter:@AutisticNickAU and on the Autistic Nick Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AutisticNickAU/

Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.

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