The American version of Big Brother has landed in hot water after no less than six of its current batch of housemates were caught out making misogynistic, homophobic and racist comments about each other that has cost some of them their jobs and has even offended host Julie Chen.
The comments were initially only aired on the 24 hour live internet feed the program produces however the reality television series, now in its fifteenth season, aired some of the comments made in Sunday’s edition of the show after fans complained that viewers were only getting a ‘censored’ view of the personalities in the house.
While we here at Ryno’s TV have decided not to disclose the comments made, contestants such as GinaMarie Zimmerman, Aaryn Gries, Spencer Clawson, Jeremy McGuire, Kaitlin Barnaby and recently evicted David Girton have made comments relating to contestants of Asian and African-American ethnicity, homosexual contestants and about female genitalia.
Broadcaster CBS have expressed condemnation over the derogatory comments however have decided not to take action. The US version of the show has, in the past, stuck by its commitment to allow the absolute freedom of speech in the house, no matter how derogatory.
“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,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
“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 programme.”
However, while CBS has decided to take no action on the events, the situation has cost Zimmerman and Gries their jobs while Clawson has also received condemnation from his employer.
Show host Julie Chen, who is herself of Asian descent, told viewers of her daytime talk show ‘The Talk’ that some of the comments made by the housemates ‘stung’.
“When I first found out that Aaryn made anti-gay, anti-black and anti-Asian comments, I have to be honest, the Asian ones hit me the most. It stung. I took it personally. I’m a human being,” Chen said.
“The really sad part was it took me back to the 70s when I was growing up in Queens, when I was seven years old, getting bullied, being called a chink, and people pulling their eyes.
“Then I felt ignorant, I felt like, ‘Wow, there’s still people in this country who feel that way and act that way?’. Afterwards it just made me sad. She’s 22 and she’s college educated.”
Chen also defended CBS’ decision to finally air the comments in the television broadcast, claiming the controversy is now ‘driving the story’.
The controversy is similar to the infamous ‘Race Row’ that erupted in the fifth season of Celebrity Big Brother UK back in 2007. There, several housemates including the late Jade Goody, a former contestant on the civilian edition of the show, made racist comments about Indian contestant Shilpa Shetty. The event made worldwide headlines and resulted in tougher censorship of the show in future editions.
Big Brother has also made headlines here for racist remarks after Paul Dyer questioned fellow contestant Merlin Luck over Australian citizenship in 2004.
Big Brother Australia returns to Nine soon.