Ian Terry is one of the most beloved Big Brother contestants. He played a solid game in season 14 and rode it all the way to a win, then came back this summer for the second all-stars season. Earlier in the season, he and housemate Kaysar Ridha talked a lot about being on the autism spectrum, with Terry saying that being in the Big Brother house is “like autistic hell” and then saying that he “gave up on trying to hide” the fact that he is autistic.
He and Ridha bonded over it because while Ridha has never been formally diagnosed, he said he thinks he is also on the spectrum and considers it “a point of strength.”
Terry agreed, calling himself unique and saying that it’s “just a different ability.”
But this week, several houseguests took to mocking Terry’s condition, and a lot of Big Brother alums are outraged by their behavior.
Memphis Garrett Compared Terry to The Twin Girls From ‘The Shining’
— bb clips + caps (@clips_bb) September 9, 2020
In a clip from the live feeds, houseguest Memphis Garrett walks into a bedroom where Nicole Franzel, Dani Donato, and Christmas Abbott are hanging out and he starts complaining about Terry always being around.
“Every time I turn around, Ian’s there like the girls from The Shining … it stresses me out,” Garrett said, as the three women laughed. He then said Terry “f*cking scares” him and joked that one of these nights, he’s going to wake up and Terry will be standing over him, rocking back and forth. Garrett called it a “nightmare” and then left.
The comment about rocking back and forth is in reference to Terry liking to sit on the backyard hammock and rock, something he has talked about on the live feeds as a way to comfort himself and calm himself down.
After he left, Donato can be heard saying that they’re laughing because it’s “hashtag relatable.”
— Unfiltered Feedsters (@UnfilteredFeeds) September 10, 2020
Then in a different clip, Garrett talks about if Terry sits on his bed in the night, he’s going to kick Terry in the teeth and claim it was an accident.
Many ‘Big Brother’ Alums Have Jumped to Terry’s Defense
— cece (@sedmond91) September 9, 2020
BB22 evicted houseguests Ridha and Nicole Anthony did a video interview where they talked about the clip, which Ridha said was “really sad and unfortunate to see.”
“It’s ignorance and that’s no excuse [for] a grown adult, especially knowing Ian’s story … I don’t understand the judgment, I don’t understand the laughing, especially from Nicole, who is his best friend in the house,” said Anthony. “I don’t understand why you would laugh at that? I hope when they come out, they see that and maybe have a conversation with Ian and educate themselves more because it’s very unfortunate. I saw that clip and I was disgusted.
Ridha responded by saying it has kind of been this way all season, this “pack of people that banded together because it was comfortable for them” and then there was everyone else on the outside. He had been hoping these outsiders would “get together and empower themselves,” but it just hasn’t happened in the game, plus the big group alliance of Garrett, Franzel, Donato, Abbott, Cody Calafiore, and Tyler Crispen keeps winning power in the house, letting them pick off the other side one by one.
Ridha also tweeted, “People on the spectrum are some of the best our society has to offer. I’m mortified by the actions of these Big Brother houseguests. Before leaving I reminded Ian to never let anyone laugh at him. Ever. Period.”
Thank you for posting this. People on the spectrum are some of the best our society has to offer. I’m mortified by the actions of these Big Brother houseguests. Before leaving I reminded Ian to never let anyone laugh at him. Ever. Period. #BB22 https://t.co/fPmNRDgXWI
— Kaysar Ridha (@KaysarRidha) September 10, 2020
Other Big Brother alums have voiced their outrage and disgust as well. Donato’s father, “Evel” Dick Donato, tweeted that it is “disappointing” his daughter was a part of this, especially after she already got a Diary Room warning about saying Ian was using his autism for strategy.
Dani already got a heads up in the DR over saying Ian was using is autism for strategy. Then she's part of this…
Nicole Franzel and others criticized for mocking "Big Brother" contestant with autism https://t.co/SQEO1HgeYX
— EvelDick (@EvelDick) September 10, 2020
Fellow all-star Janelle Pierzina tweeted, “Instead of laughing they should be standing up for Ian. He has a disability.”
Alum Jodi Rollins wrote, “Not cool. I love Ian. He opened up about being on the spectrum and this is what he gets!?” and she later retweeted someone who posted a video of Donato and Franzel talking about being more understanding toward Ian, with the poster wondering if production had a talk with them.
— Val💕 (@valerie_galery) September 9, 2020
Big Brother airs Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.