Big Brother is stirring up controversy for CBS after contestants made several racist and homophobic statements.
The show is a summer staple for CBS, with live feeds giving fans 24-hour access to what’s going on in the house. But instead of the normal scheming and backstabbing, this year Big Brother fans have seen a dose of racism and homophobia.
Live feeds caught contestants Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman making racist comments to each other about other contestants. Aaryn said about Helen, a contestant of Asian descent, “Dude, shut up, go make some rice.” GinaMarie added, “Andy was like, ‘I’m gonna punch her in the face,’ and I was like, ‘Maybe that’ll make her eyes straight.’ “
The duo made other racist comments, saying of two black contestants: “Blacks stick together … They’re like tokens … They’re like black Barbie and Kens.” They also worried about whether Andy, an openly gay contestant, would win an award voted on by viewers “because everybody loves the queers.”
The Big Brother racism prompted CBS to speak out, with the networking releasing a 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.”
Former contestants have chided CBS and Big Brother for the rampant racism and sexism this year. Former contestant Ragan Fox wrote an open letter asking that the network air the racist comments on the broadcast so viewers can judge for themselves. In past years critics have accused the show of whitewashing some of the contestants’ actions for the sake of creating positive storylines.