Celebrity Big Brother fans are not impressed with Ann Widdecombe after she misgendered India Willoughby, calling her “he”.
The former Tory politician has been the most controversial housemate of the series so far: she she kicked off the show by victim-blaming women for the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal, and then angered Rachel Johnson by declaring that mothers shouldn’t work.
- Ann Widdecombe riles Celebrity Big Brother viewers as she’s accused of victim blaming and arguing over towels
- Who is India Willoughby? Celebrity Big Brother 2018 contestant profile
She topped that off in a conversation in Thursday’s episode, when transgender news reader India Willoughby joked about being named after her mother’s favourite takeaway: Indian.
“I think he’s pulling your leg,” Widdecombe said.
“He? She!” Willoughby reminded her, and Widdecombe returned: “Oh, I beg your pardon.”
They let the moment pass, but later Willoughby pulled her fellow housemate aside to discuss the incident.
Don't be the only one not talking about Celebrity Big Brother tomorrow… ???? pic.twitter.com/GD3iKHUIsx
— Big Brother UK (@bbuk) January 4, 2018
“You misgendered me earlier on today. I know it was a genuine mistake,” she said, to which Widdecombe replied, “I’m sorry about that. If you wouldn’t have been talking about it so much, I wouldn’t have been conscious of you in any other way.”
“You know it hurts transgender people when it happens,” Willoughby pointed out.
Ann: you were open about being trans so it’s your fault I misgendered you #CBB
— court elizabeth (@crtnylzbth) January 4, 2018
Will this be the last of it? Probably not, because Bit on the Side later premiered a clip from Friday’s highlight episode showing Widdcombe misgendering Willoughby multiple times with the wrong pronouns.
Asked if she saw Willoughby as a man, she told fellow housemates: “It’s our generation. I do think of her that way. Therefore I’m watching myself the whole time and then yesterday I slipped up.”
Ashley James told her: “I think you have to be sensitive to understand that she has always felt like a she. I imagine, even if she was very graceful about it, it must sting.”
CBB fans are not impressed by this behaviour.
I'm sorry but age is NOT an excuse for misgendering someone. Ann was introduced to India as a female, India presents and identifies as female, therefore there is NO excuse.
— It's Only Richard.. (@itsonlyrichard) January 4, 2018
Now and again as a mistake is forgiveable. But, she’s only ever known India as a woman, so why the confusion? #CBB
— Ranj Singh (@DrRanj) January 4, 2018
Seeing as Ann didn’t know India before her transition, there was absolutely no need for her to misgender her. Had she had known her before her transition perhaps a mistake could happen. That was no mistake. ????????♀️ #CBB #CBBUK #CBBAnn #CBBIndia
— ✨ ???? ✨ ????️???? (@SlayanaTweets) January 4, 2018
Though some thought she was handling the issue well…
I really don't like India, I know Ann did misgender her. But Ann I think by the looks of things apologised for it and called her by her preferred pronouns #CBB
— Becky ? (@beckikn0x) January 4, 2018
#CBB often is instructive. Ann Widdecombe misgendered a trans woman. Nothing malicious, I'm sure, but a reminder to all of us to be more thoughtful.
— Philip Nolan (@philipnolan1) January 4, 2018
This Friday’s episode will see male celebrities enter the Big Brother house for the first time. John Barnes was the first man to be confirmed in the Celebrity Big Brother line-up earlier this week.