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Australian 'Big Brother' incident sets off sexual assault controversy

UPI News Service, 07/03/2006 

The Australian prime minister wants his country's version of "Big Brother" off the air after a female participant allegedly was molested live on the Internet.

Prime Minister John Howard joined critics of the show, which has previously been accused of broadcasting lewd behavior, the Australia Broadcasting Corp. reported.

"Here's a great opportunity for Channel Ten to do a bit of self regulation and get this stupid program off the air," Howard said. Although Network Ten has evicted the two men who are alleged to have committed the sexual molestation, the broadcaster said it will continue with the show.

Camilla Halliwell,22, has not filed a formal complaint so police are not investigating.

Halliwell agreed it was not the right thing to do, but said the men meant no harm. "They were doing it in a playful way," she said.

New South Wales Rape Crisis Center manager Karen Willis said Halliwell's reaction to the incident is typical of someone who has been assaulted.

But Big Brother show host, Gretel Killeen, disagreed with evicting the men whom she called "fantastic housemates."

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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