Controversial 'Human Ken Doll' faces massive social media backlash after using the N-word on TV
Rodrigo Alves has undergone over 50 plastic surgeries and 100 cosmetic procedures to look like a human Ken doll. This includes dangerous rib removal surgery, in which four ribs were removed from his torso to attain a more "elegant and classic figure." Originally, the 35-year-old wanted six ribs removed, but the doctors feared compromising his lungs. As of this writing, he has spent over $650,000 on plastic surgery.
These outrageous procedures made Alves an internet sensation, and this season he joined the cast of the UK's Celebrity Big Brother. (Apparently, they're using the word "celebrity" very loosely.) On the 22nd season premiere, Alves shocked viewers, but not just because of his looks. While talking to some housemates, he casually dropped the N-word, one of the most offensive racial slurs in the English language.
According to media watchdog Ofcom, in the five days since the episode aired, more than 1,000 viewers filed complaints. Viewers were outraged, and called for the 'Human Ken Doll' to be removed from the show. On social media, some fans pointed out precedent: In 2007, contestant Emily Parr used the N-word in a conversation with housemates, and was evicted, just five days into the program. Why not Rodrigo Alves?
Alves used the N-word to describe the type of romantic partners he preferred. When confronted about his behavior, he claimed that he was drunk. The CBB producer cut him off, rightly stating that being drunk is no excuse for saying racial slurs.
However, Channel 5 bosses stopped short of kicking the 'Human Ken Doll' out of the Barbie Dream House. Instead, they issued the reality star a "final warning:" If he repeats the offensive language again, he's toast.
Speaking on Rylan Clark-Neal’s Bit On The Side, reality Tv personality Chloe Ferry defended Alves. "I think he’s a very nice person," said the Geordie Shore star, "and I feel like he didn’t mean to say it. I really really like him and I honestly, genuinely think he didn’t mean to say it."
Regardless of the intent, Alves faced a massive social media backlash. Twitter users criticized CBB's double standards, swore they were done watching the program, and pointed out how casually Alves used the disgusting slur, as if it were part of his everyday vocabulary. (And of course, a few people took potshots at his extreme plastic surgery.)
Hours after uttering the N-word, Alves claimed he "empowers" by getting cosmetic procedures: "In life, you have the freedom to be whoever you want to be, to do whatever you want to do, as long as you don't cause harm to other people or to yourself and do what is right for you."
Well, it's hard to disagree with that message. I suppose you have the freedom to say the N-word on national television as well, but that doesn't mean you have freedom from the consequences. We'll have to wait and see how long he stays on the show, and how much his body continues to change, compared to what he looked like as a teenager.