A contestant on ‘Gran Hermano’, Spain’s version of ‘Big Brother’, has been jailed for just over a year for sexually assaulting another contestant as the reality TV show was being filmed in 2017, court documents showed on Monday.
The incident took place following an alcohol-fuelled party when the victim, Carlota Prado, was in a clear state of inebriation.
Although the footage was never aired, the producers, Zeppelin TV, came under fire for their handling of the incident in which they confronted her with the video evidence the next morning in the so-called Big Brother confession room, causing her to break down.
José María López went on trial in November with the court sentencing him to ’15 months of prison for a sexual abuse offence against Carlota P. A. that took place … in the early hours of 4 November 2017′.
It also imposed a ‘four-year restraining order on him during which he must have no contact with the victim, and pay her €6,000 in compensation’, part of which must be paid by the Spanish production company that made the show.
‘Big Brother’ is a popular reality show featuring contestants locked in a purpose-built house for weeks on end, with their every move tracked on camera 24 hours a day. Viewers then vote off the contestants one by one.
The judge said that López — who was ‘driven by a lustful impulse, knowing Carlota P.A. was in a drunken stupor that would later lead to unconsciousness’ — had ‘removed her trousers while they were in bed and begun making sexual movements under the duvet’, despite the victim saying ‘I can’t’.
‘The defendant’s lewd movements continued for several minutes, until the victim’s face and arm were uncovered, revealing her unconscious state, prompting (the producers) to intervene,’ he wrote. López was immediately kicked off the show.
The story only became public two years later when El Confidencial news website released footage of the moment the producers confronted her in the confession room in which she can be seen breaking down and pleading with them to turn it off.
The trial had been due to start in February 2022 but it was delayed because Prado was struggling with her mental health and didn’t feel able to testify.
The producers Zeppelin TV issued a statement on Monday, stating their ‘respect for the sentence handed down in the criminal proceedings, during which they cooperated with justice in an absolutely transparent manner’.
Con relación a la sentencia judicial conocida en el día de hoy, dictada en el Procedimiento Abreviado 36/2021, por el Juzgado número 18 de Madrid, por los hechos calificados de delito consumado de abusos sexuales. Más información aquí: https://t.co/zwe4SLSjy8 pic.twitter.com/C0P0r41KsC— Zeppelin (@ZeppelinTV) April 17, 2023