Did the reality show « Double occupation » trivialize the intimidation of a candidate?

How far can reality TV go to provide good entertainment? Double occupation (OD) has in any case exceeded the limits this week, according to viewers, who accuse the production of having trivialized the intimidation of which a candidate would have been the victim to inflate his ratings. If the show remains a game, it has a social role to play, argue experts.

“Out the bullies! », « justice for Jonathan », « shame on the production ofOD “: social networks ignited this week after the departure of Jonathan, orchestrated by the other participants of the house of the boys. The latter decided to eliminate Clémence, his partner in the adventure, to push him to leave.

For the public, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Already, for a few days, anger has been rising on the Web, viewers helplessly watching the candidate being sidelined by the other male candidates. It is difficult to know the real reasons for their disagreement, since the production carefully chooses the passages it shows on the small screen. One thing was certain, Jonathan no longer endured the disorder of his roommates and the rejection, and the latter felt that his attitude was undermining the atmosphere in the house.

« It’s intimidation in every way, » launches, offended, Michelle Houde, resident doctor in public health and preventive medicine at the University of Montreal. Taking a deep discomfort watching the latest episodes, she felt the need to explain what bullying is on her social networks. Citing Éducaloi’s definition, she recalls that it is « words, gestures, images or behaviors that hurt, humiliate, socially exclude a person or have the effect of causing a loss of self-esteem. « .

Didactics professor at UQAM and bullying expert Stéphane Villeneuve agrees, and specifies that it is mobbingor “group psychological harassment”.

In an open letter published in the newspaper Subway Wednesday, author and screenwriter India Desjardins also took the time to dissect the situation. His verdict is final: Jonathan has experienced psychological violence, verbal abuse and manipulation.

Fans of the show share their opinion. Petitions have been launched to denounce the inaction of the production and to demand the exclusion of candidates qualified as bullies. Some called for a boycott of the show, others multiplied the comments, often hateful, on the Instagram profiles of the candidates, which forced the production – which manages their social networks during the show – to block them.

» Double occupation is a game of seduction where candidates must use strategies to determine among themselves how to eliminate each other during deliberations. Ultimately, it is the public who will decide who will be the big winners,” wrote the Productions ToRoS team on social networks on Tuesday, trying in vain to calm things down.

On the show The week of the 4 Julies — hosted by the producer ofOD, Julie Snyder -, the main interested party, Jonathan, opened up on “the toxic environment” in which he was bathed: “The more it progressed, the more I got pushed aside. I would walk into a room, and the guys would change the subject. I have never felt so alone being surrounded by so many people. »

If he admits having found a listening of the production, he criticizes this one to have delayed to intervene. “This intervention could honestly have been done much earlier, it would probably have changed the course of my adventure. »

“So we should have intervened more quickly, I take responsibility for that. […] I’m really sorry, ”replied Julie Snyder.

Asked Thursday by The duty, the production still does not talk about bullying to describe the situation. » OD is a micro-society, and it’s a phenomenon that can be observed on a daily basis: a conflict of personalities and an incompatibility of values,” underlines the head of communications at Productions ToRoS, Maude Lavoie-Gosselin. She adds that “the candidates are met several times during the adventure to remind them of the importance of respect”.

bad example

“I understand that it’s a reality TV game, and we want some bickering. But there, we were elsewhere. It was not strategy, but attacks on Jonathan’s personality, « said the DD Michelle Houde.

“It sends a bad message, adds Stéphane Villeneuve. By showing bullying behavior, without specifying that it is inappropriate, we come to tell the public not only that it is okay to act this way, but that it works, since Jonathan is gone. »

He is especially concerned about the impact that these images may have on a younger audience who does not yet have the maturity to recognize that these behaviors are not acceptable in society.

In the eyes of the two speakers, reality TV has a social role to play and must measure the impact of the images and messages it transmits. “The show could have had an educational impact by explaining that these behaviors are not tolerated, whether in a banner at the bottom of the screen, or at the end of the episode, with some help resources”, gives as an example Mr. Villeneuve, who hopes that the production takes note of it for the next seasons.

For its part, the production constantly ensures that it questions what it puts on the screen. “The sensitivities in 2022 are increasingly present. The production tries to be the most transparent [possible] with the public about what is happening in homes. »

It’s not the first time thatDouble occupation thus arouses passions, each edition coming with its share of controversies. It will be remembered that in 2021, the public had strongly denounced the presence of a candidate whose behavior was considered problematic, and the production had finally shown him the door. The previous year, the cheating of the candidate Éloïse had offended the viewers, who criticized the production for not having ousted her for this gesture. In 2019, another case of bullying had particularly marked the spirits: Kevin was called “emptying” and “asshole” by other participants.

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