News | Press Release | Statements

6 March 2024

Refuge statement regarding Gary Goldsmith’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother

Commenting on Gary Goldsmith’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, Louise Firth, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Refuge said:

“Friday is International Women’s Day (IWD) and this year it feels particularly poignant it arrives the same week as the budget, in the run up to a general election where we have urged the government to address chronic underfunding for women’s services.

IWD should be a time for celebration of women, but instead we find ourselves yet again starting the week aghast that an abuser is being celebrated and amplified by a national broadcaster on our television screens.

Refuge is appalled that ITV decided to include an individual with a conviction of domestic assault as a housemate in Celebrity Big Brother. It beggars belief that ITV thought this acceptable the day before launching a domestic abuse campaign on their flagship daytime women’s show Loose Women.

Refuge regularly works with television producers to inform them of how to sensitively and accurately portray domestic abuse to raise vital awareness of the issue and services we run and together campaign for change in our mission to eradicate domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is a social issue, and we must tackle it together.

Domestic abuse is also a crime, rooted in power and control, under no circumstances is it ever ok that a perpetrator convicted of this criminal behaviour should be given a platform for entertainment value. What message does this send to survivors of domestic abuse whose voices ITV claim to be campaigning to amplify? Big Brother is a show that first introduced Andrew Tate to the world, and it is now amplifying the voice of convicted abuser Gary Goldsmith. The producers need to take a long hard look at themselves, take this issue seriously and recognise the responsibilities they have. The media can be an important tool to enact social change, producers need to focus on raising awareness and sharing the voices of survivors not platforming perpetrators of domestic abuse.”