On Sunday, David Bowie's ex-wife Angie learned of his passing while she was filming Celebrity Big Brother in the U.K. The episode where she reacts aired on Tuesday, and it featured a moment that serves as a reminder that the truth can be stranger than fiction.
One of Bowie's housemates on Celebrity Big Brother is former VH1 reality star Tiffany "New York" Pollard, of Flavor of Loveand I Love New York. Another is David Gest, Liza Minelli's ex-husband. Right before the start of the clip below, Pollard noticed that Bowie was upset, and asked what was wrong.
"David's dead," Bowie tells her, and asks her not to tell the other contestants.
Pollard immediately has an emotional meltdown, and goes and tells some other contestants that Bowie just told her that David Gest has just died of cancer. They then go and find David Gest asleep in his bed and very much alive, and Pollard freaks out on Bowie for telling her a "sick joke."
This is one of the looniest reality television moments of all time. It was an easily avoidable misunderstanding that quickly spun completely out of control. Bowie assumed that Pollard would know what David she was talking about, and Pollard didn't figure out what was happening before overreacting. It's a truly bananas moment:
"This scene is actually stranger than fiction," Mic's Kevin O'Keefe notes. "If this were written, it likely would be decried as too outlandish, or at least deemed hard to accept as possible. The fact that the scene is connected to easily the biggest story of the week — the death of a beloved musical icon — only makes it stranger."
Approximately 200 viewers have complained to Celebrity Big Brother's network about the tastelessness of broadcasting the situation, according to the Guardian.