Celebrity Big Brother comes under fire for playing Aretha Franklin song during launch show

The singer passed away from pancreatic cancer on Thursday

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07:  Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Celebrity Big Brother producers have come under-fire for using Aretha Franklin’s song Respect during the 2018 launch show.


The song played as Natalie Nunn, star of US reality series Bad Girls Club, entered the house, while a voice-over detailed her alleged celebrity feuds with Rihanna and Chris Brown. Outraged viewers took to Twitter to label the decision “massively disrespectful”, as it came just hours after singer Franklin had passed away from pancreatic cancer.

“Playing Aretha to Natalie Nunn’s entrance is massively disrespectful,” @chris_facey_uk wrote, “Big Bro should be ashamed.”

@LynPaul6 concurred. “Oh wow! Can’t believe they are playing the amazing Aretha Franklin singing Respect whilst this woman in white comes on, especially today,” she wrote.

And it was enough for Oriane Messina to clock out of the series entirely. “Playing Aretha over her entrance is beyond. CBB, I’m out. Enjoy the series. X”

Check out more reactions below.

Channel 5 declined to comment on the story.


Elsewhere, a lot of love has been pouring out for the singer on Twitter, with legends of the music world such as Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey and Missy Elliot all paying tribute to her in the hours following her passing.

Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers' singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You've inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church. Today the entire world mourns your home-going and celebrates all the brilliance you left behind. I will forever cherish the moments I spent in your presence. Your indelible impact was earned not only by your incomparable voice but by your bigger than life personality, wit and humor. I say a BIG prayer for you. You will forever have all our RESPECT. Love, Mariah ♥️

A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on

Sign up for the free RadioTimes.com newsletter