A female contestant on Spain’s version of the “Big Brother” reality series has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by another housemate while unconscious, and that producers then told her of the abuse — which she had no recollection of — by forcing her to watch footage of it, all while being filmed.
Carlota Prado was a contestant on the show in Nov. 2017 when she and other housemates attended a party where alcohol was served. At the time, Prado and another contestant, José María López, were in a relationship; he escorted her to her room that night and she was visibly intoxicated, BBC News reports, citing Spanish outlet El Confidencial.
He then allegedly tried to initiate a sexual encounter. Prado said, “No, I cannot,” and passed out, but López is alleged to have penetrated her anyway while she was asleep, per the outlet’s report.
The following morning, López allegedly told her that he’d “taken care of her” when she was drunk, but he was, later that day, kicked out of the house for “intolerable behavior.” Prado, still unaware that an alleged sexual assault had taken place, was then summoned to the show’s diary room, a private space where contestants commonly deliver confessionals. Instead, however, Prado was shown without warning footage of the previous night, causing her visible distress, according to the outlet.
“Please, Super, stop now, please,” she asks at one point, in the diary room footage which has since been leaked, referring to the Big Brother narrator who is known in the Spanish show as “Super.” Prado asks to talk to both López and her fellow castmates, but the “Super” — a voice offscreen — denies her requests, and instead asks her to not tell the rest of the cast.
Later, an executive producer of the show and a psychologist entered the diary room, and she was taken to a hotel.
Producers did not air footage of the alleged assault or Prado’s diary room scene, but it became public knowledge following an investigation by El Confidencial, according to CNN.
The Spanish outlet reports that Prado received psychological support and they reported the alleged assault to police; Prado did not pursue charges at the time, but she has lodged a recent complaint, CNN reports.
An investigating judge is pursuing a criminal case, but no one had been indicted as of Thursday, The New York Times reports.
López has denied sexually assaulting Prado, according to the BBC. His lawyer, Antonio Madrid, claimed that there is no evidence of an assault, and reportedly told El Confidencial, “José María spent the night looking after Carlota when he realized she was drunk.”
Prado criticized producers’ handling of the alleged assault when speaking to El Confidencial, according to PEOPLE.
“They allowed him to stay by my side many hours when they had sufficient proof to get him out immediately and then decide what to do with him,” she said.
López, she said, was allowed to “laugh at my face” the following day “by telling me that he looked after me.”
“I cannot understand how the program allowed this,” she said.
The scandal garnered backlash for the show after the footage of Prado reacting to video of her alleged assault began to spread on social media, according to The Times.
Zeppelin — the production company behind Spain’s “Big Brother,” or “Gran Hermano” — issued an apology late last month, pointing to its “zero tolerance” policy regarding such behavior. The company stated that it regretted telling Prado of the alleged assault during a “confessional” and apologized for that choice.
The release also states that it will be implementing a no-alcohol policy in the future.
Mediaset, the company that broadcasts “Gran Hermano,” also issued a statement late last month, accusing its professional rivals of trying to discredit it by launching a “denigratory campaign” and stating that the case is “in the hands of justice.”
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