CBS has finally addressed the backlash regarding racist statements made by several “Big Brother 15” houseguests.
As previously reported, subscribers to the show’s 24-hour live feeds on CBS.com have witnessed several cast members using racial, homophobic and misogynistic slurs in relation to an African American woman, an Asian American woman and a gay man in the cast.
The offensive comments, however, have been left out of the episodes that are edited for primetime broadcast. Viewers have expressed outrage and even online petitions over the comments being unaddressed. Reality TV website Reality Blurred has compiled a list of the houseguests’ statements since feeds went up on June 26.
Former “Big Brother” competitor Ragan Fox (season 12) penned an open letter to CBS asking the network to show the houseguests’ true colors on the televised episodes. “Big Brother, I LOVE you, but, if you really want to provide a groundbreaking twist, SHOW CBS VIEWERS HOW SOME STRAIGHT, WHITE PEOPLE talk about gays, Asian Americans and African Americans,” he wrote.
In response to the controversy, CBS released the following statement: “Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and seeing every moment of their lives. At times, the houseguests reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by several of the houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive. Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a houseguest appearing on Big Brother, either on any live feed from the House or during the broadcast, are those of the individual(s) speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program.”
One of the contestants, Aaryn Gries (pictured above), has been dropped by her modeling agency after her racist and homophobic comments hit the Internet. Among the comments made by the 22-year-old was a warning to her fellow houseguests that they need to be careful of black contestant Candice because they “might not be able to see the b**ch” in the dark, and that Asian contender Helen should “go make some rice.” She also said of Helen, “she is the first Asian I know that doesn’t do nails.” Additionally, Aaryn suggested that gay houseguest Andy’s nominations would be irrelevant because “no-one’s going to vote for whoever that queer puts up.”
Zephyr Talent in Austin, Texas has now decided to drop Aaryn from their books following the controversy, TMZ reports.
“Aaryn, season 15 cast member of Big Brother, revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we (Zephyr Talent) do not condone,” the agency said. “We certainly find the statements made by Aaryn on the live Internet feed to be offensive. Upon much consideration, we have decided to release Aaryn from her contract with Zephyr Talent.”
A petition at change.org has started to get Aaryn kicked off of the show. Other contestants who have been criticized for making racist or homophobic comments include GinaMarie Zimmerman, Spencer Clawson and David Girton.
“Big Brother” airs 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays on CBS. Tonight’s episode will mark the season’s first live eviction. Beginning July 11, “Big Brother” evictions will air live at 8 p.m. Thursdays.