Big Brother: All-Stars alum Kaysar Ridha has "zero tolerance" for the houseguests this season caught mocking co-star Ian Terry, who has autism, on the live feeds of the CBS reality show. After footage of Dani Briones, Nicole Franzel, Memphis Garrett and Christmas Abbott making fun of Terry's "rocking" circulated on Twitter, the eliminated houseguest took to social media to defend his friend.
"Inside the BB house reflects society's failures when it comes to our handling of diversity," Ridha wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "We could use a lesson in empathy & awareness. Ppl who are neurodiverse & on the spectrum should be protected not trashed. I have zero tolerance on this issue." In another tweet, Ridha added he had told Terry to "never let anyone laugh at him," before he was voted out of the house last week.
The conversation, which has been widely criticized as ableist, began with Briones and Franzel talking about Terry's "rocking" making them nervous, with Abbott and Garrett joining in later and the latter comparing Terry to someone out of a horror movie or nightmare. "I can’t even look at him sometimes because [of] his constant movement. It stresses me out," Briones said. "I feel mean saying that, but I’ll literally have to move."
Ridha's ally in the house, Janelle Pierzina, was one of the other Big Brother players to speak out about the moment, which CBS has yet to address publicly.
Instead of laughing they should be standing up for Ian. He has a disability 😐 https://t.co/4Vwpusq4Wv— Janelle Pierzina (@JanellePierzina) September 10, 2020
Terry is one of the two former winners in the All-Stars house, being named winner of 2012's Season 14. Earlier this season, he opened up about being autistic to Nicole Anthony, Ridha and Pierzina, calling the Big Brother house "autistic hell." He explained further of having autism, "Being on the spectrum isn’t my identity. I’m a smart guy, I have a great family, friends, girlfriend, and I won Big Brother."
Before Ridha was eliminated, he and Terry had a heart-to-heart about what the latter called a "different ability." Ridha added, "It’s what makes people great. And not to take away from people who do struggle severely from it, or parents who have to raise children who [have it], so I don’t want to overstep in any way. But at the same time, it’s a point of strength honestly, and I don’t mean to bring it up, and I know it’s a sensitive topic, but I do want you to know I actually do really care."