Reality TV

What really happened to Big Brother’s Camilla after *that* turkey slap scandal?

Here's what she's up to now.
Loading the player...

When you think of pivotal moments in Australian reality TV history, the Big Brother ‘Turkey Slap’ is likely to top the list.

WATCH: Big Brother’s Camilla breaks her silence about the ‘Turkey Slap’ incident

While these days, viewers see only the housemates’ ‘air-worthy’ moments, 16 years ago fans were able to tune in to a 24-hour online live-stream of the Big Brother house. It was during this stream that viewers witnessed the now infamous ‘turkey slap’ occur.

Housemates Camilla Severi, Michael ‘Ashley’ Cox and Michael ‘John’ Bric were engaging in late-night chatter when one of the boys beckoned Camilla to join them on the bed and shut her eyes.

“What are you going to do?” Camilla asked. “You’re not going to turkey slap me, are you?”

“No,” one replied.

“You are, you liars. I’ll hurt you if you do.”

At this point, Bric held Camilla down and told Cox to “turkey slap” her, then the latter housemates rubbed his crotch in her face.

Camilla said she “wasn’t offended” but she did think the boys “took it a little bit too far”. (Credit: Ten)

Following the incident, the two men were booted from the show and Channel Ten producers had the footage reviewed by Queensland police. After watching the video and speaking to the parties involved, the authorities concluded that there was insufficient evidence for a criminal investigation.

Speaking about the “turkey slap” in the diary room, Camilla said she “wasn’t offended” but she did think the boys “took it a little bit too far”.

“But, you know, we laughed it off,” she said.

Upon hearing that Bric and Cox had been kicked from the house, an emotional Camilla said: “I’m really sorry guys; I feel so bad.”

In the days following, Cox told host Gretel Killeen that Camilla knew it was “just a practical joke”.

“We were mucking around, having a good time, and obviously we didn’t intend on hurting Camilla in any way.”

Bric added that they were “good blokes”, insisting that they “treat women with respect”.

“We were mucking around, having a good time, and obviously we didn’t intend on hurting Camilla in any way,” Cox said. (Credit: Ten)

Later, in a rare interview with Zoo Weekly, Cox insisted the incident “ruined his life”, saying that he was “branded a rapist on national TV” and had “no support from anyone”.

The ‘turkey slap’ had huge implications on the Big Brother franchise and reality TV as a whole.

In the week following the event, Communications Minister Helen Coonan revealed that media watchdog Australian Communications and Media Authority would broaden its jurisdiction to cover video streaming, while also announcing that the code of practice governing the classification of free-to-air TV was likely to be reviewed, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Such was the scope of the scandal that Prime Minister John Howard even weighed in on the incident, telling Macquarie Radio that it was a “great opportunity for Channel Ten to do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid program off the air”.

Succumbing to government pressure, Channel Ten axed their “adults only” version of Big Brother, while keeping the original series on air. 

What’s more, in 2018, an anonymous reality TV producer told Fox FM that the “turkey slap” scandal led to a stricter policy when it came to alcohol regulation.

In a rare interview, Camilla said the years following Big Brother were a “confusing time” in her life. (Credit: SBS)

Since leaving the Big Brother house, the woman at the centre of the incident – Camilla – has taken a big stride away from the spotlight.

Appearing on SBS Insight in 2020, 14 years after her reality TV stint, Camilla revealed that after placing runner-up on Big Brother, she relocated to Brisbane to focus on her career.

“I moved to Brisbane where I went on a breakfast radio show, so I was getting up at 3:30 in the morning and I had no idea what I was doing in the media and no training.”

Despite that period of her life being a “confusing time”, Camilla eventually felt grounded and worked in radio for around six or seven years before making another move.

“My career in radio finished up and I already had a child,” she said. “I ended up moving to Bali and I now have two more kids.”

When it comes to the ‘turkey slap’, for the most part, Camilla has remained tight-lipped as to her thoughts on the incident. However, she did admit to SBS that she felt scrutinised by the attention at the time.

“What I’m scarred by is the constant attention.” (Credit: Getty)

“I did not feel traumatised about the situation at the time, but the way it was rehashed constantly, that was… I’m not going to say traumatising, I don’t think that’s fair, but it certainly did me no favours.”

Earlier that year, the Big Brother alum told The Ben, Rob & Robbo Show that the scandal was “15 seconds of (her) time in the house, and yet people do like to talk about it a lot”.

“We were all mucking around and I’ve said this before, if it happened at a party and someone did that to me I’d probably say to them ‘Hey, that wasn’t cool’ and then we’d move on,” she said.

“But because it happened on live TV and it’s been dissected so, so many times from different angles, it was quite a confusing time.”

The reality star also confirmed that she wasn’t “scarred” by the incident.

“What I’m scarred by is the constant attention, you know, and the fact that I went on to do eight years of breakfast radio, I have three beautiful children, I’m married, like I’ve got a really full life, I’m studying, there’s so much other stuff that’s going on in my life and this is like such a blip on the radar.”

Looking for more Big Brother content? Check out the links below!

What happened to Big Brother’s Tully & Drew?

Big Brother couples: Where are they now?

Reggie Bird on life after Big Brother: “I spent all the money I had left on rent”

Big Brother’s Trevor is back: ‘I’m out of my comfort zone’

Big Brother: The moment Farmer Dace came out on the show in 2006

How Merlin Luck’s Big Brother eviction changed the course of reality TV

Evicted! Here’s who has exited the Big Brother house

Related stories