The Mooch Swears He 'Did Not Quit' Celebrity Big Brother

Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 Tom Green Jonathan Bennett Anthony Scaramucci CBS

Sure, man. Anthony Scaramucci left Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 before the first eviction. We the viewers, and also the other houseguests, never got to see him walk out the door. Instead, the show handled it in the weirdest way. The rest of the HGs gathered to watch a video screen revealing The Mooch was already out of the house. He wasn't a real houseguest, they were told, he was there as part of a twist.

It didn't smell right to fans on many levels, and it seemed like a cover up for The Mooch wanting to quit the game to avoid being voted out first. Well, the former White House Communications Director put his spin powers to use, answering the direct question "Did you quit the game"? with this explanation:

Listen, I absolutely did not quit the game. The producers from day one pitched me the idea of becoming a twist in the show. I have to confess to you that they turned me into a superfan, but I hadn’t really seen the show prior to them pitching me. And so my wife and I looked at it and I said, “You know what? It looks like a lot of fun. It fits into my schedule.” I gotta tell you, these producers are world-class people, so I was like "I’m gonna do it."

Anthony Scaramucci told Entertainment Weekly the twist was planned from day one, and there was "no conspiracy." He even seemed to brag about it, thinking "it was probably one of the more bigger, historical twists where somebody that everyone thought was a houseguest slipped out in the middle of the day." He had Joey Lawrence pack his stuff for him.

For viewers, The Mooch was already missing once the Big Brother live feeds were turned on. That was our first chance to see what was really happening live in the house instead of just seeing the pre-taped footage from the first few days in the house. When the live feeds came on, fans noticed that The Mooch was already gone. Turns out, he spoke at a panel during a Skybridge business conference in Davos, Switzerland before the first eviction, when TV-only-fans thought he was still in the house, sitting on the nomination block.

EW followed up by trying to see how the twist was planned out. Did he tell the producers he had a conference he had to be at, so he couldn't be there the whole time? Here's his answer:

Well, the problem is I’ve got young children, and [the producers] actually premeditated it and recognized that someone like me, there is no way I could take 25, 30 days off. As much as I would have loved to have done that, I’ve got a 12 billion dollar company that I’m running and I’ve got young children ages 4 and 1, so listen, I would love to be a full-blown houseguest and play that game. It is one of the more fascinating games in television history.

The kid angle is hard to buy, though. Parents go on Big Brother, and Celebrity Big Brother, all the time. Tamar Braxon is currently in the Season 2 house missing her 5-year-old son. It's hard to believe the producers would look at The Mooch and think someone like him would need a different set of rules.

It felt like another way to explain him wanting to leave the house -- or maybe there was something in his contract that would give him an out when he wanted, or to avoid being the first eviction. But not a pre-planned "twist" where he wasn't a real houseguest. Last year on Celebrity Big Brother Season 1, both Keshia Knight Pulliam and Metta World Peace asked to be voted out. Keshia also mentioned her child as a reason for wanting to leave, saying her breast milk had nearly dried up, and she wanted to go home to feed her 1-year-old daughter.

Now that's the kind of thing parents can relate to, but it's also the kind of thing you know going into the house. Why go at all? Listen, Celebrity Big Brother is a sprint -- it's just four weeks, not the 99 or so days of the summer seasons. When celebrities can't even get through four weeks, it does show that they aren't real fans, like many of the summer houseguests. It comes across like they just wanted to pick up the check. Some of us love this silly show, and it's insulting when houseguests don't play hard.

It's also insulting for a player like Jonathan Bennett. The Mean Girls actor was already punished when he won the first Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 competition along with Ryan Lochte. Ryan won his way to be the first head of Household, and Jonathan ended up on the block. Jonathan was punished again when The Mooch quit, instead of possibly being the first HG voted out. Jonathan ended up being evicted. Jonathan played hard, and he's the kind of superfan people want to see on this show.

It was also confusing to Celebrity Big Brother fans, to think The Mooch was part of a twist, since the footage up to that point had shown him acting like a player -- even in the diary rooms, when he could've easily let fans in on the so-called twist. He only hinted to it after he was on the block and said he was almost out of his nine lives but he had one left.

Still, The Mooch told EW his plan was to play the game as hard as possible till the last minute. But then he contradicted that by saying he was holding back a little on cutting a strong deal with others because he didn't want to hurt anyone that was on the show and take their place. He said that's why he didn't push Ricky Williams to use the first Power of Veto to save him, because "I didn’t want to be that guy, where I won the Veto from him and then I’m slipping out the back door in a couple of days." And yet he was that guy who slipped out the back door and left another person to take his place on the block.

Anyway, the producers had said they talked to the Celebrity Big Brother 2019 houseguests about the acceptable ways to leave the show, to try and keep them from quitting. Apparently we're not calling what The Mooch did "quitting," it's a pre-planned twist in the game.

Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 is airing three days a week, but just until February 13, so the NCIS fans don't get too angry. This week, you can watch tonight (Monday, Jan. 28), Wednesday, Jan. 30 and this Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Here's what else is airing during the busy 2019 midseason.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.