Former boxer Evander Holyfield has been warned by Celebrity Big Brother over comments he made about homosexuality to Apprentice star Luisa Zissman. The 51-year-old shocked viewers during a conversation yesterday where he claimed that being gay “ain’t normal”.
The discussion began with Zissman telling the ex-boxing champion, “I think it’s really bad that no one stands up and says it in the sports industry,” to which Holyfield replied, “What would be good about it?”
The 26-year-old entrepreneur countered, telling her handcuff partner, “I think it’s good to be open like that because it’s normal.” “But that ain’t normal,” Holyfield replied.
The American sportsman – who famously lost part of his ear after being bitten during a fight by Mike Tyson – went on to explain his comment, stating, “the Bible lets you know there’s wrong, there’s right.”
“That’s just the way some people are born,” said Zissman,” prompting Holyfield to reply, “It don’t make no difference. If you’re born and your leg were turned this way, what do you do? You go to a doctor and get it fixed back right.”
Zissman then pushed to change the subject, telling Holyfield, “I don’t think this is an appropriate conversation to have in this house.”
The comments subsequently saw Holyfield ordered to the Diary Room where he was disciplined by programme makers who informed him: “Before you entered the Big Brother house the rules regarding unacceptable language and behaviour were explained to you.
“Last night in a conversation with Luisa you expressed the view that being gay was not normal and that it could be fixed.
“While Big Brother understands these are the views you hold, they aren’t the views that are held by a large section of society, and expressing these views will be extremely offensive to many people. Do you understand why?”
Holyfield then replied: “Yes I understand why. I thought I was just, I forgot about the thing. I was just telling her my opinion but it’s not like I was going to mention [it] to anybody else. It was just our conversation.”
His remarks – which he is yet to apologise for – have prompted outrage on Twitter, with many calling for his removal from the house ahead of next Wednesday’s first eviction. Culture Club singer Boy George was one of many to share his disappointment with his followers, tweeting:
Shame, I had such admiration for Mr Evander Holyfield, he seemed dignified and I was sure he was a cool, smart, giant!
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) January 5, 2014