Roxanne Pallett’s rep has released a statement in response to the aftermath of her claims against Celebrity Big Brother housemate Ryan Thomas.
The former Emmerdale actress, 35, was left in tears on Thursday night after accusing Ryan, 34, of ‘punching’ her in the kitchen.
Ryan, who apologised and said there was no malice or anger intended, was given a formal warning by Big Brother.
Some CBB viewers, including Ryan’s girlfriend Lucy Mecklenburgh, have argued Ryan was being playful and Roxanne’s reaction “made a mockery of domestic violence.”
In a statement to ED!, a spokesperson for Roxanne said: “Roxanne has no contact with the outside world to make her own statement, however we do know that Roxanne has worked closely with various domestic violence charities due to being a victim of domestic violence herself.
“She would be very upset to find out she may have caused offence to others who have been through the same.”
The statement concluded: “We can’t make any more comment at present until such time as Roxanne is out of the Big Brother house and is able to address this situation herself.”
Roxanne has previously worked with Refuge charity following an Emmerdale storyline about domestic violence, and has spoken about her own experiences of being in an abusive relationship.
The star, who played Jo Sugden in Emmerdale, told This Morning in 2008 she had been “in an abusive relationship” and researching the storyline had been a difficult experience as it brought it all back to her.
The scenes unfolded on Thursday night’s CBB when Ryan approached Roxanne in the kitchen and made some punching gestures while jumping around her.
She asked Big Brother to call her to the Diary Room where she said the situation had made her feel “uncomfortable” and she wanted to speak with a producer.
“I’m just a little bit in shock. I went from being upset to being angry, because a boy has punched me repeatedly unprovoked, he actually punched me like a boxer would punch a bag,” she told Big Brother.
“And we weren’t play fighting, there was no banter, it wasn’t a joke, there was no exchange.”
Big Brother told Roxanne the footage was being reviewed and the matter was being “taken very seriously”.
“I can’t believe you’re letting someone stay who did that,” said Roxanne, bursting into tears. “It’s not okay.”
Roxanne later asked to sleep in a separate bedroom from Ryan, saying: “I am now suffering and having to alter my experience because somebody else was violent. I can’t believe you’re letting him stay. It’s awful.”
Ryan, who found fame in Coronation Street, was called to the diary room.
He was told: “Before you entered the Big Brother house, rules regarding unacceptable behaviour were explained to you. You have broken this rule. At 3.55pm today, Big Brother noticed that whilst almost play fighting, you punched Roxanne in the ribs.
“This caused Roxanne to say ‘ow, that bloody hurt’. Whether you intended to hurt Roxanne or not is irrelevant. Do you understand what you did was unacceptable?”
Ryan said: “From your point of view, yes, but I think we both know, and Roxanne, that there was no malice or anger in anything I did.”
Big Brother said: “Big Brother is issuing you with a formal warning in regards physical contact in the house.
“Any repetition, and Big Brother may have no choice but to remove from the house.”
Since the episode aired, many of Ryan’s famous soap co-stars have backed him, including Brooke Vincent, Kym Marsh, Samia Longchambon and Simon Gregson.
His girlfriend Lucy Mecklenburgh has called for Roxanne to be evicted next, while brothers Adam and Scott have both voiced their outrage at the situation.
Celebrity Big Brother continues on Channel 5.
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