Celebrity Big Brother contestant John Barnes has been criticised by viewers for comments he made during a conversation with fellow housemate Shane Jenek, better known as drag queen Courteney Act.
The former footballer was trying to articulate his views on homosexuality after an earlier conversation about experimentation in which Jenek said, “Sometimes somebody can have a little taste of something…” to which Barnes interjected: “Kick them out of the club. Kick them out of the club.
“I’ll tell you why, because if anything happened in that room he’s out of the club. If anything happens in the room, Andrew’s out of the club. He’s not in my club anymore if anything goes on.”
Explaining his previous comments, Barnes later told Jenek: “straight men always assume gay men want to sleep with them.
“I know it shouldn’t be that way… men are comfortable just being in a room with a woman, not in a sexual way, because they don’t think, ‘she wants to have sex with me’ but with gays they are uncomfortable with a gay man because they assume that with a gay man, he’s definitely going to want to have sex with me, rather than thinking, just like with a woman, ‘why would he want to have sex with me?’
“That’s why men are uncomfortable with gay men because in the back of their minds they’re thinking, ‘he’s looking at me thinking I wonder what he looks like with his clothes off’. They think that about all men.
He continued: “They’re not thinking, ‘you find me attractive’. They’re thinking, ‘you’re going to make a move on me’.
“There’s this uncomfortable feeling that he’s going to pounce on me. They’re thinking you’re going to make a move on me, you’re going to touch me.”
Attempting to justify his comments, Barnes added: “I’m that way because everything I’ve been saying here is about being a product of the way I’ve been brought up and things we know to be wrong, we can’t help thinking that” – a justification that did not go down well with fans of the show, many of whom labelled him “homophobic”:
Always had time for John Barnes but he did himself no favours with his lazy homophobia. #CBB
— Dave Smith (@Daveyboy89) January 20, 2018
John Barnes says his homophobia is okay because he's 54 and he's just naturally homophobic which is possibly the worst reason I've ever heard and so stupid to hear from a black man who campaigned against racism #cbb
— Leigh Kirkham (@LeighKirkham) January 20, 2018
John Barnes is only five years older than me. Don’t see how being 54 is an excuse for his uncomfortableness with the idea of homosexuality. #cbb
— #BBUKFAN ???? (@BBBother) January 20, 2018
John Barnes sayin @itsandrewbrady would be “out of the club” and that he would not meet up with him after the show if something happened with @courtneyact is a disgrace. It’s idiots like him that make young men scared to come out #Cbb #cbbuk
— Sean Kelly (@seanscoob) January 21, 2018
#cbb No John, that’s lazy. I don’t care if you’re in your 50s. You change with the times or shut up, preferably the former
— Jonathon (@scottjok) January 20, 2018
That was pretty homophobic John Barnes! (his convo with Shane) I really don't want that to go unnoticed! #cbb
— Alex Thompson (@alex_thomp337) January 20, 2018
Some viewers – including evicted housemate India Willoughby – called for disciplinary action from the show’s producers.
— Steve (@steve_binks) January 20, 2018
Age has been a “get out of jail for free” card this year on #CBB. First my misgendering, now John Barnes comments. Belonging to a particular generation is not an excuse. Barnes and Widdecombe out!
— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) January 21, 2018
While others bemoaned the fact the comments hadn’t aired before Friday night’s eviction where Barnes was nominated.
— Shauna Davies (@Shaunad93) January 20, 2018
Jenek later reiterated Barnes’ comments to Wayne Sleep, who had some things to say about his housemate’s views:
— Big Brother UK (@bbuk) January 20, 2018
Celebrity Big Brother continues tonight at 9pm on Channel 5