After 79 days in the “Big Brother” house, Raven Walton, the controversial contestant with gastroparesis, was evicted.
Walton, a 23-year-old dance teacher from Arkansas, was voted out by her fellow contestants Thursday night, becoming the sixth member of the jury that will decide the winner on September 20. Eleven other contestants had already been evicted and five remain.
Even before Walton entered the “Big Brother” house, she was open about having gastroparesis, as well as a gastric pacemaker to treat her symptoms. In pre-show interviews, she asked fans to use the hashtag #PacerPower when talking about her on social media and spoke frequently about her illness on the show. She even showed Bobby Moynihan, who hosted a competition on the show, her gastric pacemaker.
Her openness, however, was met with skepticism. Many viewers began questioning the severity of her condition and used social media (frequently under the hashtag #RavenExposedParty) to express their doubt that she is as ill as she claimed to be. Many said she and her mom, who also has gastroparesis, were trying to earn sympathy and donations.
While on the show, Walton wasn’t able to communicate with the outside world and hasn’t responded to the controversy surrounding her on social media. Immediately after being evicted, she seemed to indicate that she thought her fellow contestants believed the jury would vote for her to win the game due to her health issues. “I understand with my story and everything that they probably wouldn’t want to take me to the final two. I can fully understand their gameplay and I respect it,” she told “Big Brother” host Julie Chen.
In a post-show interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Walton said all the stories she told on the show (which ranged from details about her illness to anecdotes about her mom being struck by lightning) were true.
“I’m a storyteller! Everything I told in the house was true. Everything I’ve gone through, everything my mom went through, all the crazy stories I experienced, yeah! I just wanted to share how kooky I was,” she said.
Though some viewers may have questioned how she was able to be on the show, which requires contestants to live in the Big Brother house cut off from the outside world and compete in physical challenges, Walton told TV Guide it was “safe” for her to be on the show with gastroparesis.
“I’ve dealt with disease my whole life, I know how to take care of myself. I had my medicines. If I get sick, there’s nothing else they can do except say ‘take your medicine,'” Walton said. “This disease makes me who I am and I’m glad I got to share it with the world and spread the word at gastroparesis.”