A housemate on Brazil’s version of Big Brother has been raped live on TV, it has been alleged.
Police Wednesday confirmed they had begun an investigation and carried out a search of the studios in Rio de Janeiro, where the popular reality show is being filmed.
Viewers were shocked in the early hours of Sunday to watch contestant Daniel Echaniz 31, apparently force himself on 23-year-old student Monique Amin, who had passed out drunk after a boozy party.
Night cameras filmed Echaniz, a male model, get into the bed where Ms Amin was sleeping before appearing to have sex with her under the covers.
Throughout the incident the female contestant appeared unconscious.
The next morning Ms Amin was asked about the incident in the diary room, and appeared to know little of what had happened
As the scandal began to engulf the show, one of Brazil’s most watched TV programmes, police officers arrived at the house and interviewed Ms Amin for three hours, before taking her away for a rape examination, according to sources.
Police are believed to have then told TV channel Globo to either stop broadcasting the show, which is produced by Endemol and only began last Tuesday, or eliminate Echaniz.
The decision to remove the contestant, who if found guilty of rape faces between six and ten years’ jail, was explained in a statement read out by the show’s presenter Pedro Bial.
He said: ‘Since Sunday morning, the board had been evaluating the behaviour of Daniel, who is suspected of having infringed the rules of the programme.
‘Big Brother examined his behaviour without jumping to conclusions and with the utmost care. The images showed a breach of the rules of the programme.
‘After careful evaluation, the direction of the programme found that the behavior of the contestant on the night of the party was seriously inadequate.’
Makers Endemol – which is known for encouraging outrageous behaviour among its contestants – Wednesday refused to comment on the latest scandal to rock the worldwide Big Brother format.
Big Brother Brasil, which is in its 12th series, is watched by an average TV audience of eight million. In last year’s final over 154 million votes were cast.