Sweden’s version of “Big Brother” was rocked by scandal shortly after the reality show returned to the airwaves following an extended hiatus when contestant Isabel Pereira made an antisemitic statement, local outlet Expressen reported.
Pereira’s comments came after fellow contestant Kim Kamal mentioned that her former boss was Jewish. “I liked her husband very much, because he was very kind and he understood me, but she was a Jew, so I understand,” Kamal said.
“There is zero tolerance for this kind of expression. A warning also went out to the whole house and underlined the seriousness of this,” executive producer Joel Bendrik said in a statement.
Aron Verständig, chairman of the Jewish Central Council, the country’s EJC affiliate, expressed his condemnation saying: “Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in antisemitism in Sweden lately, with many serious incidents in recent years. When a person in a TV program such as Big Brother, who is watched by a lot of young people expresses such things, it can lead to the legitimisation of antisemitisms so I take this very seriously”, he declared.
The statement led to an immediate social media backlash, the Swedish outlet reported.