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Big Brother 25 Is Openly Televising the Abuses Disabled People Experience Every Day ✦

A picture of an anthropomorphic grill looking extremely angry next to several Matt Klutz from Big Brother 25

I will admit, I work in entertainment journalism and was asked to watch Big Brother's 25th season to help with news coverage so I am no super fan. However, when I saw that the show would feature deaf contestant Matt Klotz I was cautiously excited. I'm disabled and it's not too often you see folks like me on competition based reality TV shows. Then when they do, they can end up like Kelly Bruno on Survivor, voted out over fears of said disability getting sympathy votes from the jury. So I was hoping this likable fit guy could be someone I rooted for to go all the way and be excited for.

Now, all I feel is horror and an indescribable anger at how he has been treated by the show. It is currently no secret amongst feedsters that Matt has repeatedly not been accommodated properly during challenges on the show thus far. Now, production decided to make him compete in an audio based competition and the feeds seem to have been cut out to avoid showing him crying afterwards over this mistreatment.

Thankfully, I've seen fans rightfully pissed off about this decision and CBS's obvious attempts to PR spin their way out of this controversy. However, I need non-disabled viewers to understand the crushing reality that what they are seeing CBS and the Big Brother production staff too is something incredibly normal across all industries. It's just the first time many of you are getting to see it so vividly.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43.7% of unemployed disabled people "reported some type of barrier to employment" in 2021 and even among those employed "over half experienced some difficulty completing their work duties because of their disability." I need you to understand that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) "does not permit monetary damages to be assessed against you in lawsuits brought by individuals." No seriously, look it up.

The logo for Big Brother's 25h season featuring lots of different colors and looks for its muliverse theme.

Unless you live in specific states that have their own laws about compensatory damages for disabled folks in these lawsuits, the most places usually pay for is for the lawyers of the disabled person filing. So to even get an ounce of justice, you have to take tons of time out of your schedule and life to go through the exhausting process of suing major businesses all for you to maybe be accommodated in the future at best. Not to mention how churches successfully lobbied to not be covered by the ADA at all so good luck if you're being discriminated against by a religious organization. Add to that the extreme medical discrimination disabled people experience and it becomes clear we disabled people cannot solve these problems without your solidarity.

And disabled people had to crawl up the steps of congress to even get that paltry protection only for the Supreme Court to walk back a lot of who could actually be protected by the ADA.. So I need you reader, especially if you are currently not disabled, to bring that same energy, anger, and indignity to this situation happening on Big Brother. I need you to be so loud that CBS and the Big Brother production staff cannot escape your wrath. So that even people not watching this show know this is happening and can join in righteous fury until Matt is given the treatment he deserves.

Do not let Big Brother get away with abusing their first deaf contestant just to make inspiration porn for the masses. Make them pay through the nose for this and use that momentum to make sure the other disabled people in your life have their accessibility needs met as well. We cannot do this alone. These things only change if we all stand together to fix them, one step at a time.

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