With a couple of weeks to go until the 10th series in Australia, Big Brother is making the headlines in America for all the wrong reasons as racism, homophobia and sexism dominate the first week of the 15th season.
CBS finally aired some of the comments on Sunday night which have been causing controversy online and in the media following their broadcast on the live feeds over the last week as numerous houseguests made derogatory remarks about other houseguests.
The most notable of these, and the only ones broadcast on the show itself, were from 22-year old model and college student Aaryn and 32-year old pageant co-ordinator GinaMarie – both of whom have now been fired from their jobs – with Arryn saying how Helen, who is Asian, should “shut up and go make some f***ing rice” while GinaMarie said she “should be punched until her eyes turn straight”.
GinaMarie also referred to black housemate Candice as being “on the dark side as she is already dark”, with Aaryn adding “Be careful what you say in the dark, you might not be able to see the bitch”. In reference to fellow houseguest Andy, Aaryn has also said “No one’s going to vote for whoever that queer puts up” should he win “MVP” – a new twist where viewers vote each week for a contestant who then has the power to secretly choose a third nominee to face eviction.
CBS had failed to broadcast any of these events in episodes last Tuesday and Wednesday, instead issuing a statement distancing itself from the comments and pointing out the views broadcast on the show are that of the houseguests, not CBS. In previous years executive producer Alison Grodner has defended not broadcasting such material, telling Reality Blurred in 2010 that “we really don’t want to put hateful things out there in our edits. And so for the most part, when this goes down, we keep that out of the show”. However following days of pressure from fans and the media, CBS had little choice but to acknowledge the issue, especially when one of the houseguests at the centre of the controversy won the position of Head of Household.
Following the broadcast host Julie Chen has spoken about the racism on The Talk (see here), stating how she “took it personal” as it took her back to her own experiences in the seventies. She also stated that it’s inclusion, which she indirectly referenced during the opening of the first live show, is due to how it is now affecting the gameplay in the house and the houseguests attitudes towards Aaryn especially.
Reality Blurred has a full round up of the comments made over the first few days.