Big Brother romp rankles Ethiopian lawyers

By Aaron Maasho

(Reuters) – Lawyers in conservative Ethiopia have asked police to investigate an Ethiopian contestant in the “Big Brother Africa” reality television show after she appeared to have sex with a fellow housemate.

Betty Abera, 27, represented Ethiopia in the pan-contintental version of the show that has spawned editions around the world. She was not immediately available for comment.

Under Ethiopia’s criminal code, sexual acts or “any other obscene act or gesture” in public could lead to a jail term of up to one year, or a fine of up to 1,000 birr ($54).

If the authorities deem her act a criminal offence, prosecutors are likely to press charges.

“This was an act that shamed many Ethiopians. We have clear laws that reject such indecency,” said Paulos Tessema, one of the lawyers who have called for the investigation.

Police have yet to comment on whether they would take up the case.

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Nonetheless, some Ethiopians have taken to social media to express their outrage over show in which the winner will scoop £300,000 next month, with Facebook pages denouncing the contestant.

“Betty didn’t represent Ethiopia on Big Brother Africa,” says one, with the contestant’s picture marked with an “X”. Another page has death threats posted on it.

Abera was evicted in June from the show that has whittled down the housemates since May. She told an Ethiopian radio show this month she was still in Johannesburg, where the series is being filmed, but planned to travel back to Addis Ababa soon.

Ethiopia’s population of 85 million is comprised of an Orthodox majority population and a large Muslim minority. (Editing by James Macharia and Alison Williams)


  1. Yes, indecent conduct in public is punishable in Ethiopia! Ethiopia is a Christian and Muslim country, Betty must be punished.
    I hope the prosecuters will pursue the case!

  2. As an Ethiopian with many teen brothers and sisters, I am getting sick of drug and sex behaviors conducted in public. The so called Reggies and Reggie song singers including some some known persons use Marwana in public places in Ethiopia and this ignorant Betty did the unthinkable on TV programs fully knowing that the program will be aired in Ethiopia.

    We do not want illitrates like Betty and so called Reggies to be role models to our teens. The teens of Ethiopia are the future of Ethiopia and need be protected such garbagge. The government should punish individuals involved in such activities. Let that start with Betty!

    • I dont think that Betty had any idea that it recorded, in her interview she said that she did act of sex and not real and then she said she is in love with bolt. She is kind of confused and has no idea that it is a crime. For example, here in USA if you walk uncovered in public the police put you in prison right away or if if you meet some one first time and offer money for sex you will be in jail and will put you sex crime website. Our smart betty is telling as that it a reality show and it is an act. Poor betty, curse your faith that leads you to big brothers.

  3. She should be judged according to the law of the land where the incident has happened. We got to back off this one before we are scrutinized by the whole world.
    The law in Ethiopia states if you have committed sex act or exposed yourself indecently in Ethiopia not South Africa. Hello……………………….

  4. Why not we bring diasporas stilling money from parking lots to face justice. Is that an act that would make Ethiopia look cute?
    “As such, there is nothing good or bad but only thinking makes it so” Shakespeare.

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