Big Brother 19 is making headlines amid racist allegations that have already sent one houseguest packing. While live feed followers and spoiler readers already knew that military veteran Megan Lowder left the show after an argument with the other BB19 houseguests, the dirty details were shown on Sunday night’s episode. And, in true Big Brother form, racist comments played a big part in the in-house drama.
In Lowder’s case, the drama came after cast mate Jessica Graf mentioned how much Big Brother 19’s Alex Ow looked like Big Brother alum Paola Shea, a Season 16 competitor who is of Asian descent. Shea was nicknamed “Pao Pao” during her season of the show, but when Lowder heard Graf talking about how much the two women looked alike, she misunderstood what was said and claimed that Jessica called Alex a “panda.”
Megan Lowder was later heard telling Ow that Graf’s use of the word “panda” is “a little racist,” which triggered a chain reaction of events between the three Brother houseguests. Graf quickly called Lowder out for insinuating that she was a racist. After an on-camera altercation and a Diary Room breakdown attributed to PTSD, Lowder abruptly left the show for good.
Although Jessica did not call Alex a “panda,” her comparison to Paola Shea has the former Big Brother contestant lashing out over the insinuation that all Asian women look alike.
Shea, who works as a DJ, posted a video to Twitter in which she slammed the comment and made it clear that she and Alex are two different people who do not look alike.
“Stop comparing me to Alex!” the Big Brother veteran said.
“I do not look like Alex, so stop comparing me to her. We are two different people, and this is like some crazy sh*t you guys are doing.”
You can see Paola Shea’s angry response to the Big Brother drama below. (Warning: Strong language)
Paola later posted to Instagram to add that she was not implying that Jessica Graf is a racist.
“I’m not trying to call Jessica racist,” the Big Brother alum wrote.
“I just think that it’s inappropriate for her and the entire house to refer to Alex as me, just because we are both from Asian descent. I know that we have similar personality traits but we are completely different people.”
Big Brother fans are already condemning the Season 19 cast for a series of questionable comments seen on the live feeds, most notably by current Head of Household Cody Nickson.
In fact, houseguest Kevin Schlehuber’s family issued a statement to explain the Big Brother contestant’s involvement in a recent conversation with Nickson. Cody made waves earlier this week when he “bragged” about how he flew to Missouri to see if he could “survive” the Ferguson riots.
Big Brother fans are already comparing this season to the doomed 15th season of the CBS summertime reality show. That year, several contestants were called out for racist comments they made about African American and Asian housemates. The reality TV drama spilled into the cast’s real lives, with cast members Aaryn Gries, GinaMarie Zimmerman, and Spencer Clawson all reportedly fired from their jobs while they were in the Big Brother house. CBS even began airing a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode of the show to distance itself from the racist cast comments.
Longtime Big Brother host Julie Chen previously told the Hollywood Reporter that the show’s producers can’t step in to “manage” the houseguests no matter what is said on camera because it would affect the game.
“It [is] ugly, but you have to sit back and let these things happen,” the Big Brother host told THR. “Often these people are their own worst enemies.”
Chen has also slammed critics who accuse the show of casting racist houseguests just to create controversy, saying, “Trust me, it wasn’t planned.”
Big Brother airs Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on CBS.
[Featured Image by Shelby Soblick/Getty Images for Complex Magazine]