'Big Brother' in Big Trouble?

CBS is having to respond to news reports that William Collins, one of its participants on the new reality show “Big Brother” is, in reality, Hiram Ashantee, a follower of Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who was ousted from the Nation of Islam for anti-Semitic statements. In addition, Muhammad has denounced whites and referred to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a devil. CBS told The New York Times on Friday that it was “looking into” the reports but for now saw no needs to remove Collins/Ashantee from the program. In a statement, CBS said that neither it nor the producers of “Big Brother” would “tolerate nor permit any hate speech on the program” and went on to emphasize that “there has been no hate speech on ‘Big Brother.’ ” This isn’t the first such background problem this year: After February’s broadcast of “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” it was revealed that Fox TV’s background check on Rick Rockwell did not reveal complaints against him.

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