Exclusive: Adam Jasinski discusses 'Big Brother 9,' "retards" comment
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/28/2008
Adam Jasinski thought he had a good chance of exiting the Big Brother house as the ninth-season winner, but didn't want to get his hopes up too high.
Thanks to some strategic moves he made during the game and his ability convince the jury he deserved to win, the 29-year-old public relations manager from Del Ray Beach, FL shouldn't have sweat it as he claimed Big Brother 9's $500,000 prize by a 6 to 1 jury vote over Ryan Quicksall during last night's live finale broadcast on CBS.
On Monday, Reality TV World spoke briefly Adam with about his various strategies in the competition; how he regrets using the word "retards" while conversing with some other houseguests; why he's surprised at the attention the "Freudian slip" has garnered; how he may not have carried his former "perfect-match" partner Sheila Kennedy, but did have her back; and what he plans to do with the prize money.
Reality TV World: Were you confident you'd win the jury vote against Ryan? Did you think you'd win by such a large margin?
Adam: Landslide victory, wasn't it?
Reality TV World: Yeah, was that surprising?
Adam: Not really in a sense. All week long, I was telling Ryan, "Look buddy, I think you're going to win." I didn't want to be overconfident myself. I knew that if I had a chance to speak to the jury that I would win them over. I'm a good speaker in the sense that I can drive a convincing argument. I think I did. I had a gut feeling that I was going to win the show, but I didn't want to get ahead of myself throughout the week. I hate to be let down.
Reality TV World: So you did have a strategy in approaching the jury when answering their questions and delivering your final statement?
Adam: A complete strategy. I put myself in other people's shoes. You can tell what they're going to ask. I knew [James Zinkand] was going to ask me competitive-wise versus Ryan, who won more competitions. In a sense, that question did phase me a little bit because it got me to justify that point to the jury.
I pretty much made one huge end speech, then dished out portions of it throughout the Q&A. Then whatever was left I summed it up in my key points and close it off with a nice little finale.
Reality TV World: So both Joshuah Welch and Sheila accused you of letting Ryan do your "dirty work" during the game.
Adam: The blood was on his hands.
Reality TV World: Exactly. Was that part of your strategy and do you think it ultimately helped you win?
Adam: It was completely part of the strategy. At the [third round of the final Head of Household competition] I definitely did not throw that. I was in it to win it because I felt that would have sealed my fate winning the game if I won that competition. There would have been no question about it. But it worked. Whatever happened, it worked anyway.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you didn't throw the third round of the final HoH competition? Hadn't you told Ryan you'd evicted Sharon Obermueller for him so it was his turn to [win the Final HoH and] boot Sheila for you?
Adam: Listen, you've got to do what you've got to do to keep key people in the game. The fact that Sheila remained there, I knew that Sharon had something with Ryan going on. So I made a last-ditch effort -- and it worked -- to keep Sheila in the house. If she stayed, I knew either way I was going to the finals.
Reality TV World: Okay, so when you told Sheila you weren't taking her to the Final 2 if you won, that was part of a strategy to try and ensure Ryan would take you to the Final 2 if he won?
Adam: Yeah. But I had to make a bargain with Ryan in the sense that why would he want [Sheila] in the house if I'm going to go with her? Why not keep Sharon? Because he would go with her. It worked well for me that I got to keep Sheila in the house.
But part of that deal was I'd throw the first part of the competition and let [Ryan] go to the final round to play for [himself] to win. I also told him I would throw it for him just to give him extra incentive -- I guess you could say -- for keeping Sheila in the house. Ultimately, him screwing over Sharon got me another vote.
Reality TV World: So had you won the final HoH, would you have taken Sheila with you?
Adam: That's a question I've been asked over and over again. It's all in theory. Either one of them I think I could have beaten. Ryan did take me further in the game and I felt a little more obligated to him because bottom line, Day 1, Ryan was there with me -- as long as Sheila was.
But I think it would have been great for TV and the whole premise of the program -- not that I'm trying to create TV and all -- but just the fact that it was couples, it was a season of love, Til' Death Do You Part. It would have been interesting to actually have Sheila in the end with me.
Reality TV World: During your first couple of weeks in the house, you made a comment that Sheila objected to in which you called children with autism "retards." Do you regret having made that comment?
Adam: I absolutely regret saying that. It's a heat of the moment thing. It was not my intention whatsoever to use that word out of context.
Reality TV World: I'm assuming you've already been made aware of this since you left the house last night, but that comment sparked a strong reaction outside the house. What's your reaction been to learning of all the viewer complaints, some autism organizations like Autism United calling for the show's cancellation and United Autism distancing itself from you?
Adam: I didn't hear much about it. I just got out of the house yesterday. But I heard there was a HUGE response to it. But it's not my person to do anything like that. For people to even think that I would be talking bad or putting down -- I don't even understand how it got to such a level.
Reality TV World: What would you say to those critical of you for calling children with autism "retards?" Are you apologetic?
Adam: Do I apologize? Yes I apologize! I mean it had to be a Freudian slip because that word's usually never in my vocabulary -- especially with the job I was doing, and ultimate, it did cost me my position.
Reality TV World: Okay, so the comment cost you your position with United Autism?
Adam: I'm not sure about that right now. I don't know what's going on with that, but that thought ran through my mind. That's why I brought the topic up, I don't know. But just hearing now all this impact that it could have had, obviously you have to question that yourself. But no, I don't know what my position is right now.
Reality TV World: In light of what you've learned since last night, do you still plan to stand by your pledge to donate $100,000 of your $500,000 winnings to United Autism?
Adam: Would I do it right now? Yes. Eventually I would like to sit down with the families in the foundation and see what can go about. It's a huge tax break, so I have to figure out what I feel. Is it worth it for me to give up the money? Of course I'm going to give some of the money to charity. Of course I'm going to follow through with my word. The matter of what I'm going to do with that money now, I still have to figure those things out.
Reality TV World: When you told Natalie Cunial that you were the one who voted to keep her in the house after she was evicted, were you hoping that would help your standing with her for the jury vote? If so, do you think it played a factor in her voting for you to win?
Adam: I was panicked at that point in time. (laughing) It was a heated moment, intense. I buckle under pressure sometimes, and I guess I didn't intend to do that. It might have [played a factor in Natalie voting me you to win]. I'm not sure what my thought process was right there at that time.
But I knew [the jury would] find out eventually as more houseguests left, I knew they would let her know who voted who, regardless. But yeah, I probably thought at that time that would be a sure vote for me.
Reality TV World: Do you stand by your statement during last night's finale that you carried Sheila throughout the competition?
Adam: I mean, come on. Sheila states over and over and over again that she played a part in this somehow. What is she thinking? Really Sheila, you took a target off my back? There was never a point in the game where someone won a competition and I was at risk. I mean it's not that I carried her, three or four times she could have gotten put on the block and I got her off.
James was going to put her on the block. When it was between Ryan and [Matt McDonald for eviction], James said, "I'll pull her down so you can get the blood on your hands with her when you boot her out of the house." When Ryan and [Allison Nichols] got split up -- when the couples split -- Ryan was going to put her up when they put Sharon and [Chelsia Hart] up. He was going to boot Sheila out of the house then! I saved her.
It's not like I carried her. We did make the Final 3. It's crazy how it's Ryan, Sheila and I -- the team that went from the floor all the way up to the top of the house in a sense.
Reality TV World: You already touched on this a bit, but why do you think Ryan agreed with your plan to get rid of Sharon and keep Sheila going into the Final 3? Was it as simple as he knew that since you were the only one voting, he really had no choice?
Adam: He could have made Sharon do the dirty work. But there was a risk of me going out of the game. [Editor's Note: Since Ryan was HoH and held the Power of Veto that week, he could have taken either one of his original nominees -- Sharon or Sheila -- off the block and replaced her with Adam.]
I had him convinced ultimately that I was the best person to go to the end with because he could probably beat me and nobody else.
Reality TV World: During the Final 4 "Fact or Fiction" HoH competition won by Ryan, the final question claimed that there was still one "pre-existing relationship" in the house....
Adam: Yeah, that was a nice twist, wasn't it?
Reality TV World: Yeah, I was going to ask if you thought it was a fair question since it was referencing a relationship with the house's guinea pigs.
Adam: I think when Ryan won HoH it was a fair question. (laughing) I mean it's Big Brother man. Expect that stuff. They always throw things out there that are just straight goofy. (laughing) I think it was completely legitimate. They're guinea pig sisters. How cute!
Reality TV World: Did the houseguests ever learn of the answer while still in the house?
Adam: We did. They gave us a little Chinese dinner -- Big Brother hooked it up. There was a little note in there, and it happened to come at an opportune time because the reason I wanted Sheila and I to split is because they thought we were together. There's only so much you can tell them and these ideas are running through their heads. The letter came that said, "Congratulations on your final week in the house. [Signed] The other couple in the house, the guinea pig sisters." It totally helped me out big time.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for Big Brother and were you still employed by United Autism Foundation at the time?
Adam: I was absolutely employed over there -- that's why I wanted to go on the show in the first place! They hired me, I was working there for a few months. I was doing great in my position, I had the Ultimate 500 Championship [fund-raising] event -- it was a carting challenge -- and a bunch of different other things I was doing at the foundation. I really found myself comfortable over there and then I got the call from Big Brother, and I took a leave from there in January to do the show.
Reality TV World: So what's next for you? What else do you plan on doing with the $500,000 -- you mentioned wanting to start a business? What type?
Adam: I'm a business man, completely. I had a few businesses in the past as well -- some of them worked and some of them didn't. But I have a few ideas that I can put some cash towards on a few projects as well. So yes I'm going to start a business; yes I'm going to donate to charity; and yes I'm going to do the most with the money as I possibly can -- for both myself and the community.