'Big Brother' winner Jackson Michie explains subdued reaction to Season 21 win after racism accusations
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/26/2019
Big Brother winner Jackson Michie is explaining why his reaction to winning the $500,000 was so sullen and subdued, and how much of a role racism and misogyny accusations played in that.
Michie's dream was to win Big Brother and have the confetti fall on his head on finale night, but he walked out of the Big Brother house with a completely straight face after host Julie Chen announced he had defeated runner-up Holly Allen in a 6-3 jury vote.
When asked whether his stunned and quiet reaction to winning Big Brother was a result of those bombshells dropped on him moments beforehand, Michie toldEntertainment Weekly, "Yeah."
"So there's a lot of things that you don't hear in the house, and hearing that on the spot when you're trying to rally votes for half a million is a lot to take in," Michie explained.
"But also, it was a lot of shock in the sense that you couldn't tell I'm wearing the same clothes that I moved in in. I didn't pack according to finale night because I didn't know if I would actually make it."
Michie continued, "So a lot of it was shock from the questions, shock from actually winning and staying true to my goal of seeing confetti. But nonetheless, it was a lot of excitement on the inside. I just kind of didn't... It was a lot to handle. I just made half a million for a summer. That's a pretty good take."
Michie was thrilled about making it to the Final 2 during finale night with his showmance girlfriend Holly, but the tone of the night changed once Tommy brought up Michie's treatment of women during jury questioning.
"I know who I am and I know who I'm not, and I respect women more than anything. I'm very abrasive and I have a lot of energy and passion in everything I say and do. And I'm that way towards everyone. And is it right? No," Michie explained to EW.
"I know that I need to work on it and tone it down in a lot of areas, but I don't see race or gender or anyone when I'm having a conversation. And if someone upsets me, they upset me the same way that a guy would."
Michie elaborated, "And I know that it's not right, but it has never been anything about demoralizing or being condescending to women, honestly. And it was hard hearing that because I'm an only child and I'm a mama's boy at heart and I love my mom to death, but I know who I am and I know not. And I truly do respect women. I hate that someone may think that out there."
Despite his high self-esteem, Michie did apparently worry such resentment or anger from the jury could "potentially" cost him votes to win.
"It was a conversation that I've had on a couple of occasions this summer with other houseguests and I tried to clarify, with [Kathryn Dunn] in particular. And there's a lot of conversations that her and I have had where we've made up," Michie shared with EW.
"We're very brother and sister-esque in a sense that we will bicker and go back and forth. But I was confident in my ability to handle these questions and my responses to them. And the votes lined up with it accordingly."
But Michie's character took a beating even before finale night, when Zingbot roasted the houseguests and called him "a pompous douchebag."
"I'll be honest, I'm used to, in real life, people disliking me more than liking me. And most of the times it is because they have never gotten to know me. And this is a TV show and there's a lot more to me than what you'll see on an hour, three nights a week," Michie told EW.
"There's 168 hours in a week, and out of that a hundred maybe... and 115 minutes of it is social. So out of my 24 years on this earth I've dealt with a lot of animosity and I'm okay with it."
Michie added, "I know who I am. I know who I'm not. And everything I did was for this game to get me to the final two chairs."
Michie admitted such allegations bothered him on a personal level, but he tried his best to remain optimistic.
"It definitely weighed on me. And in that house, we have no distractions, so it can get to you. But it ultimately was not going to be the reason why I started spiraling. I took a lick on the chin and kept on going forward," he said.
Michie just hoped he had made his mother and father proud this season.
"They both worked very hard to raise me into the man I am. And in a house with 24/7 surveillance it is easy and very frequent to come across in a way that's not ideal," Michie reasoned.
"But that's part of the experience I signed up for. And I hope at the end of the day, after it's all said and done, that I've made them proud and that I put the best foot forward."
Before the jury's votes were announced during Wednesday night's Season 21 finale ofBig Brother, an intense discussion unfolded about bullying and racism during the season.
"I hope when you watch footage back from this season, you can understand why it was perceived the way that it was," Kemi declared.
"A lot of the things that were said to me and about several other houseguests are completely inexcusable and unforgivable. I hope you can leave this experience better people than you came into this as."
Michie said he wasn't sure what Kemi was referencing.
"But if I, at any point, offended you on a personal level, I am very sorry... I do like you as a person and I'm sorry if I ever upset or offended you," Michie said.
Kemi said the houseguests need to understand what they're apologizing for in order for her to accept their apologies.
And then Michie was accused of banishing David, Kemi and Jessica Milagros at the beginning of the game when he was "Camp Director" because they are minorities. (Michie had also banished Cliff, and some critics say that was discrimination against Cliff's age).
Michie appeared shocked by these allegations as well, saying the color of their skin was "absolutely not" why he had made those decisions.
"I'm not racist... This is all based on first impressions. The three people that raised their hands [to be Camp Director] exemplified strength and courage and maturity... I [thought] I could potentially have my game threatened by these individuals," Michie explained on the finale.
"It had nothing to do with race or age or gender or minority, ever... This was strictly players against players... Race, age, religion gender -- none of that ever had anything to do with decisions I made."
David did apparently come to the conclusion Michie's banishment decisions were not race-related, however, he stood by the fact he and Jack had made "implied biases" behind closed doors.