Celebrity Big Brother 2018 winner Ryan Thomas has spoken of his fears he “would be getting a call from the police” after the furore over his ‘punch’ of Roxanne Pallett.
“I felt I was going to be getting a call from the police for doing something untowards to a woman,” he told host Emma Willis after winning, “and that’s not me.”
The controversy was the defining moment in a Channel 5 series marked by absences. First, porn star and thorn in President Trump’s side Stormy Daniels did not appear on the show.
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Then Thomas, like Ali, became famous for a punch he never threw – or at least didn’t throw seriously. After some apparently playful mock sparring with Pallett, the actress became increasingly uneasy, later leaving the show. Talking to Willis, Thomas described himself as a “scared little boy” in the face of the escalating situation.
“As it unravelled, as it became bigger and bigger, the thing that scared me the most was when Ben [Jardine] told me she couldn’t stay in the room with me because she was scared. That rang alarm bells and then the game became real life for me.”
Thomas was given a warning by the producers, but the incident sparked a backlash online, and Thomas referred obliquely to such issues in his winner’s interview.
“We all know how something like that can stick on a man,” he said. “I was glad we had 24-hour surveillance on us, because the point was proven.”
The public, seized by righteous fury, swiftly turned Pallett into a hate figure (she later apologised for the incident). Twitter reaction to Thomas’s win was predictable…
— Mike Newton (@MStNewton) September 10, 2018
…while some appealed for calm.
— Shy Khan. (@leopoldfam2k18) September 5, 2018
Thomas said it was time to move on from the sorry saga, saying that Roxanne had been “punished enough” and that he was ready to forgive her.
“If she wants forgiveness and it makes her feel better then I would rather give her that, because I think she’s been punished enough by the public and people around her.”