This time last week Celebrity Big Brother UK was quietly ticking along.
Then it happened.
During a seemingly innocuous scene on Thursday night’s episode, Neighbours star Ryan Thomas playfully pretended to spar with his fellow housemate, Roxanne Pallett.
Video footage from the reality TV series shows Thomas walking up to Pallett, bouncing around her, and throwing mock boxing jabs in the air.
Pallett, a former Emmerdale star, laughs along with his joke and then says, “Ouch, woman beater, that bloody hurt”.
“Did it? Sorry,” Thomas responds.
Watch video footage of the incident…
Pallet can then be seen walking into the bedroom and becoming visibly upset. She then walks into the diary room and demands to speak to a producer.
Pallett, 35, then accuses Thomas of being “physically abusive” towards her.
Later in the show, Thomas is called to the diary room and is issued a warning for his behaviour. He is visibly upset and shocked by the accusation.
“If I have offended anyone or have done something wrong, I am so sorry,” he said through tears.
“I didn’t have any idea but I’m gonna try and make this a happy household now.
“I’ve done nothing, I don’t understand how she can do this. I don’t understand it.”
Throughout the rest of the episode, Pallett continued to complain that she had to spend the night in the same room as Thomas.
“It wasn’t play fighting,” she told another housemate.
“He punched me repeatedly in the ribs… I was in so much pain all night. It was intentional to hurt… He did it with his fist and it was so sore and so aggressive.”
When the footage of the incident aired in the UK, many fans accused Pallett of lying about what happened and seeking to destroy a good man’s reputation.
Viewers are also calling for Big Brother to show the rest of the housemates the footage, so they can see what really happened between the two contestants.
— Lucy Mecklenburgh (@lucy_meck) August 30, 2018
Watching Roxanne Reducing a GOOD man to tears and potentially ruining him has brought me to tears too. It’s just been awful…. #cbb
— AISLEYNE (@Aisleyne1) September 2, 2018
Disgusted that Big Brother gave Ryan a warning for what was, at best, simply play fighting; all because Roxanne asked them too. The wrong person got warned. Makes an absolute mockery of all the real stories of domestic violence. #CBBUK #CBBBOTS #CBBRoxanne
— Peter Hickman (@PeterJHickman87) August 30, 2018
— Scott Poulton (@scott1867uk) September 1, 2018
I’ve remained silent, though I’ve watched the whole @bbuk #cbb
I know Roxanne, I’ve spent time with her, and I’ve always been fond of her .. but what I’ve seen and how she’s trying to damage a young mans life is inexcusable.. a grown man reduce to tears.. she should be ashamed
— michelle heaton (@wonderwomanshel) September 1, 2018
— RickyRayment (@RickyRayment) September 2, 2018
Just catching up on #cbb from last night. Roxanne in the diary room is one of the best acting performances I’ve seen in a long while. Deserves an Oscar. Feel for Ryan so much, must be such a horrible position to be in. #ryantowin
— Shane Nolan (@iamshanenolan) September 2, 2018
On Saturday morning, two days after the incident, Pallett quit the reality TV show and left the Big Brother house.
“Roxanne decided to leave the CBB house late last night after deliberating for two days with some sensitive issues she felt strongly about,” her representative told The Sun in a statement.
“She has now been reunited with her fiance and family and thanks everyone for their support during her time in the show.”
After Pallett left the show, Thomas spoke about the impact of her accusation.
“She nearly ruined me, if I’m honest,” he said.
Since the incident, 21 of Pallett’s Emmerdale co-stars have spoken out about her on Twitter and showed their support towards Thomas.
Actor Kelvin Fletcher said, “She is evil”, while Sammy Winward said she was “not surprised at all” by Pallett’s actions.
“It’s worrying that someone is allowed to say that about someone and they’re taking it seriously,” Emmerdale star Charley Webb tweeted.
“Sometimes it takes a long, long time to wait for karma or to see what someone’s really capable of — unfortunately good people get caught up in it,” actress Adele Silva added.
Pallett’s former agent also commented on Twitter, writing: “We haven’t represented Miss Pallett for over a year. We recognise the person everyone is now seeing very well. Best wishes to Ryan and his family”.
Since leaving the show, Pallett has deleted her social media accounts. She will return to Big Brother this week to take part in a proper exit interview.
Thomas is now a favourite to take out the reality TV series.