Big Controversy on 'Big Brother 2'

ByABC News

July 12, 2001 -- CBS had been hoping its new edition of Big Brother would be a little spicier.

Now that they have it, they may not want it.

One of the contestants — Justin, a tough-talking bartender from New Jersey — was axed from the show on Wednesday when during the taping he pulled a knife on one of his housemates, and held it to her throat.

"He showed his rather bizarre sense of humor by taking a knife to one of the other houseguests' neck — while kissing her, by the way — and saying, 'How would it be if I killed you?'" executive producer Arnold Shapiro told ABCNEWS.

In Big Brother 2, 12 contestants — all strangers — share a home on a CBS backlot equipped with hidden cameras throughout. Each week, the housemates vote one person off. The last person inside wins $500,000.

For a monthly fee of $19.95, voyeurs can watch live video feeds any time on the show's Web site, or tune in to the thrice-weekly TV broadcast for highlights.

'Would You Get Mad If I Killed You?'

In the controversial scene, Justin was kissing fellow contestant Krista in what appeared to be the kitchen when he reached into a drawer and pulled out a knife.

"I'm going to slash your throat," he said. "Would you get mad if I killed you?"

"No, but I want some water," she answered.

"No, seriously, would you get mad if I killed you?"

The two began kissing again. But the moment was interrupted when producers spoke through an intercom, ordering Justin into a private room for a chat with a psychologist. He was then shown the door.

Crossing the Line

Shapiro said Justin "crossed the line of tolerable and acceptable behavior."

"As much as we like Justin, we had no choice but to expel him."

But Wednesday's incident was not the first in which Justin needed a talking-to. Shapiro said Justin had been warned after he threatened to beat another housemate, Kent, during a dispute over a pillow.

"Justin was playing the game well, but he has this sense of humor which has in it an ingredient of intimidation, physical intimidation and threats sometimes," explained Shapiro. "And even though he was warned that that is unacceptable behavior in the Big Brother house, it came out again, for the last time."

Shapiro said he didn't think Justin was going to hurt anyone — but he didn't want to take any chances, either.

"The safety of the houseguests is first and foremost," said Shapiro. "There are too many times where a violent incident or crime does happen, and then you look back and you see all these warning signs that people ignored. So, this could've been a warning sign and we just decided to do the right thing, that it was not safe to leave him in the house."

Justin, who calls himself "JustIncredible," said before joining the house that intimidation would be part of his game plan.

"I'll be nice at first," he said. "I'll give you a little warning, you know what I mean. Leave Justin alone. I don't go for this. You keep on doing it, I'm going to have to crack the Mary in the mouth."

Not Sure If Scene Will Be Broadcast

The knife scene, which took place early Wednesday, was witnessed by anyone who happened to log in at that moment. But the network is not sure if they'll show it on the air.

"We're going to report it as having happened, but what we choose to show and how we address it and all that, I'm not sure yet," Shapiro said.

The show, which was based on a European hit, drew lukewarm reviews when it aired here in the United States last summer, but the network has been hinting that the new season would be sexier.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there was nudity or sex," Shapiro told The Associated Press before announcing the cast last month.

But where last summer's show lacked excitement in the eyes of critics, it did not lack controversy: one of that group was found to have been a member of the New Black Panthers — after the show was under way. ABCNEWS Radio's Dave Alpert contributed to this report.

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