LOS ANGELES — “Big Brother” tackled the controversy surrounding some of its contestants head-on on Sunday’s episode, airing the controversial racist comments that had previously aired only on the show’s online live stream.
A segment of the episode focused on contestant Aaryn Gries, showing a montage of her derogatory comments made about African-American, Asian-American and gay members of the house.
Fellow contestant GinaMarie Zimmerman was also shown making similar comments while talking with Gries. A third contestant, Spencer Clawson, was also heard making racist comments on the show’s live feed.
In the clips, Gries is shown mocking Asian accents, saying a fellow contestant should “shut up and go make some rice” and claiming that, in the matter of who will get house MVP, “no one will vote for whoever that queer puts up,” referring to openly gay housemate Andy.
The offensive comments first came to light last week when fans who monitored the show’s round-the-clock live feed began discussing them online. Gries and Zimmerman have both lost their jobs, at a modeling agency and a beauty pageant, respectively. Clawson’s employer, Union Pacific, has released a statement condemning the contestant’s comments. He is currently employed, however.
CBS also released a statement last week distancing itself from the comments of the “Big Brother” contestants. The statement read: “‘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.”
The network had previously received criticism from a former contestant who urged CBS to not cover up the comments and deal with the issue head-on.
While things may be looking dire for the contestants in their personal lives, the controversy paid off for CBS, which saw an increase in ratings for the episode, making it the most-watched network show on Sunday night.