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Is this sufficient grounds to complain to ofcom?

(25 Posts)
Quadrophenia Thu 17-Jul-08 23:16:46

I have rcently watched an episode of Britain's Missing Top Model in which a young girl with an acquired brain injury was voted off for her perceived 'flirtatious' behaviour. The judge who was particulalry voiceferous (sp?) claimed that her behaviour was unlinked to her condition and that her promiscuity was a personality trait. Now I work in acquired brain injury and as soon as I saw this girl and how she behaved I knew she'd had a frontal lobe injury which can lead to sexual inhibition and inability to filter inappropriate behaviors. It was pretty obvious tbh to anyone that knows a little about brain why on Earth were the makers of this programme not informed, did they not do their research? I frankly find it pretty appalling that they had the platform to inform people about the difficulties faced by sufferers of an acquired brain injury and yet they humiliated this girl and voted her off without so much of a hint of understanding of her condition.
The programme is set up to provide a girl with a disability the chance of becoming a model just in case I hadn't made that clear. So should i complain?

Flamesparrow Thu 17-Jul-08 23:18:04


smurfgirl Thu 17-Jul-08 23:21:21

I watched that and thought that - it was just so obvious it was related to her head injury and not a personality trait FFS.

Quadrophenia Thu 17-Jul-08 23:23:21

good, its just such a shame the programme makers didn't get it right.

Quadrophenia Thu 17-Jul-08 23:24:34

will compose my complaint in the morning.

cornsilk Thu 17-Jul-08 23:25:27

I think the judges in Britain's top model are awful.

HumphreyCushioni Thu 17-Jul-08 23:27:10

Quad, I saw this episode the other evening, and I thought the male judge treated her appallingly, and the editing was dreadful.

Wayne Hemingway was clearly upset by the way she was treated, and thank god he interrupted the other male judge, who seemingly wanted her to sob and apologise in front of him.

I've already complained, btw.

HumphreyCushioni Thu 17-Jul-08 23:29:10

bbc complaints

lilolilmanchester Thu 17-Jul-08 23:30:59

I don't know anything about brain injury, but if her behaviour was potentially related to her injury, then their comments were shocking. You'd think they would have people on hand to advise. She did behave in an inappropriate manner IMO - but if that was out of her control then you should complain.

Quadrophenia Thu 17-Jul-08 23:41:07

Thanks Humph smile

lilo her mother has posted on a ld board regarding this and said she has struggled with her daughters behaviour post injury. It is such a shocking misrepresentation, there is little doubt in my mind that her behaviour was a direct result of her ABI.Jenny's lack of self awareness and subsequent promiscuity are indicative of something more than being flirtatious, whilst it was blindingly obvious to the viewer that her behaviour was ill timed and badly received Jenny herself seemed oblivious. Someone who flirts alot generally has an ability to know when its appropriate, someone with frontal lobe damage would not have this ability, the ability almost to self edit.

lilolilmanchester Thu 17-Jul-08 23:43:42

I can't believe the programme makers have been so ill-informed. Definitely complain, it's shocking.

MsDemeanor Thu 17-Jul-08 23:45:33

Invisible disabilities mean people are treated diabolically IMO. I think Big Brother is a good example of that. Please do complain. It sounds awful and exploitative. I hope someone picks up on this.

Rachmumoftwo Thu 17-Jul-08 23:49:14

I am pleased that there are obviously knowledgable people ready to fight her corner- go for it and good luck!

combustiblelemon Thu 17-Jul-08 23:49:30

I know practically nothing about brain injuries but I realised from the start of the first episode that hers had affected her behaviour. I know that brain injury can affect impulse control and remove inhibitions. I remember watching a documentary about a residential brain injury rehab unit which showed one of the patients had accquired hoarding behaviour after his accident- it would never have occured to me that a brain injury could cause something like that.

I really like next top model type programmes blush and have enjoyed these but a couple of things have really annoyed me about it. The way they treated the American girl is one of them. The other is that they chose two deaf girls, then spent the start of the first judging session going on about how it was important for the winner to have a visible disability. Why have those girls there in the first place if they aren't going to give them a fair shot at winning?

Quadrophenia Thu 17-Jul-08 23:49:48

But they can't have done any research at all, it is such a common problem, its not even as if its a little heard of aspect of brain injury.

combustiblelemon Thu 17-Jul-08 23:55:32

Exactly Quadrophenia. I meant that brain injury can have all kinds of unexpected results, but that most people are pretty aware that lack of impulse control and the sense of 'appropriate' behaviour are common results.

Quadrophenia Thu 17-Jul-08 23:55:43

just to say I meant sexual disinhibition in my op

HumphreyCushioni Thu 17-Jul-08 23:57:23

CL - I think it was that same series that included an episode about a teenage girl that had been hit by a car at about 11 years old; she sustained a severe frontal lobe injury.

She had problems with attention-seeking behaviour, and also gave away too much personal information about herself, and was physically inappropriate.

It was as if her personality was stuck at the age of 11, whilst obviously her body had matured.

The staff were great in trying to teach her how to keep herself safe.

They took her to a pub, and actually set up a scenario where a man chatted her up, and she did really well, and remembered not to give too much info away to him.

The rehab unit was amazing.

That girl reminded me of the model that was voted off this week on BMTM.

combustiblelemon Fri 18-Jul-08 00:05:01

The person that stuck with me was a man who had started to hoard things after his injury. Not as in not throwing out rubbish, but in that e.g. he would collect more and more toilet rolls from around the facility so that he ended up with 20+ stacked in his bathroom. He didn't know why but it was somthing he couldn't control. The staff did a regular check/negociation with him to get some of the stuff back. He was also very verbally aggressive. The nursing/caring staff were brilliant.

myalias Fri 18-Jul-08 08:26:28

Oh god yes as you said anyone with any knowledge about brain injury could see her behaviour was due to her accident. I applaud Wayne Hemmingway for standing up to the other judge and comforting Jenny.

Quadrophenia Fri 18-Jul-08 19:35:30

I complained today..will wait to see if i get a response.

HumphreySmallPillow Tue 29-Jul-08 14:54:02

Quad, got a response to my complaint today.

"Thank you for your e-mail regarding 'Britain's Missing Top Model'.

We note your concerns regarding the edition broadcast on 15 July (rpt 17 July) and the treatment of Jenny (Jennifer), we raised them with Harry Lansdown, the BBC Executive Producer for this series, he has responded with:

"Before the production company began the filming of Britain's Missing Top Model, all the girls received a psychological assessment to ensure they were emotionally strong enough to take part in the series, that they fully understood the impact the series might have on them, and that they were going into an elimination show. Suffice to say, that whilst I obviously cannot give out any confidential information about Jennifer Johnson, I can say that it was considered that she was resilient enough to take part in the series.

As part of the preparation for the series, the production company also let all the contestants know that the judges and experts who were overseeing their progress would treat them exactly as they would if they were able-bodied girls, and indeed the girls were happy about this. In this way, it was hoped they were to be given a more real taste of what the fashion/modelling world is really like than if the judges had made allowances for them and their various disabilities.

Therefore, when Jennifer was eliminated, largely on account of her inappropriate sexual behaviour, it was not deemed appropriate for production to try and intervene editorially. Indeed at one point, Wayne Hemingway actually says, "I felt very uncomfortable with the kind of questioning she was given…" and when one of the others says he doesn't believe it was her accident that has made her like this, Wayne asks how his fellow judge can know this; But at the end of the day, it was up to the judges as a whole to decide what to do, because by this point the series was following a real process in a discursive way, not offering itself up as an example of best practice.

The fact that one judge, Wayne Hemingway, voluntarily went up to Jennifer at the end of episode 3 and said consoling words to her, and then had a big argument with one of the other judges, showed his own distaste at what had gone on. And he finishes up by saying he feels the treatment of Jennifer was cruel. The point is, the series simply followed the events of that day, and how different judges reacted to Jennifer in their own way.

After she left the series, she was assessed once more, and again, without going into detail, I can say that it was deemed that Jennifer's appearance on the show had helped her, and she generally felt positive about the whole experience."

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.


BBC Complaints"

So, the answer to the complaint is to reiterate exactly what happened in the programme, and say that Jenny was assessed afterwards.

It in no way addressed my concerns about the complete lack of awareness of how frontal lobe injuries can affect people, or how despicable the behaviour of the judge was. hmm

Quadrophenia Tue 05-Aug-08 08:17:47

hmm indeedy. You are absolutely right they still completely fail to see the point as i said jenny's mum has posted on another forum and is very upset by how her daughter has been treated...oh but she was assessed so thats fine, what a complete cop out. The whole show has angered me really, sloppy television trying to hide disabilities rather than incorporate them into the fashion industry. It is completely pointless to make a programme about disability and modelling and then constantly harp on about how the individuals disabilities prevented them from modelling doh.
Will wait and see what response I get, i imagine it will be along a similar vein though!

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 05-Aug-08 08:36:51

I suppose the complaint needs to be passed onto the judge. Are the BBC going to do that? I didn't see the program but I agree that frontal lobe injury can lead to uninhibited behaviour and it should be common knowledge to anyone with even the tiniest inkling of understanding about brain injuries. How much training (if any?) were the judges given?

Quadrophenia Tue 05-Aug-08 08:51:59

I complained to ofcom rather than the bbc, I know the bbc has received quite alot of complaints. I honestly don't think the judge in question could have done any research at all...he stated very clearly that he didn't feel her behaviour was related to her injury, had he researched he wouldn't have been in any doubt she was clearly displaying characteristics symptomatic of a frontal lobe injury.
I work in acquired brain injury and every week people who i work with are misunderstood because they don't appear to have disabilities. I'm not saying this programme could have put the world to rights concerning this but had it informed its viewers a few thousand more people would have been aware of the difficulties faced by people with an ABI.

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