Contestants on Big Brother have caused controversy this week with their racist, offensive comments. The reality show’s host, Julie Chen, recently admitted she is also offended by the houseguests.
“Personally, I was offended,” Chen told TMZ Monday night. “I was offended by all the comments—the anti-gay, the anti-black, but especially the anti-Asian ones ... for obvious reasons.”
She said on a taping of her daytime show The Talk, “The year is 2013. I felt ignorant—there are still people in the country who feel and act that way? Yes, there [are]. It made me sad.”
A segment of Sunday night’s episode showed contestants Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman discussing other houseguests on the show’s live feeds. Spencer Clawson, a third contestant, was also heard making racist comments.
Gries, a 22-year-old Texas college student and model, was shown mocking Asian accents and told fellow houseguest Helen Kim to “shut up and go make some rice.” She also called a homosexual houseguest a “queer” and said of African-American contestant Candice Stewart, “Be careful what you say in the dark, you might not be able to see that b----.”
Thirty-two-year-old Zimmerman, a pageant coordinator, said of Stewart, “Candice is on the dark side because she’s already dark.”
Gries and Zimmerman, who are still in the house and isolated from the real world, do not yet know that both of their employers have fired them for their comments. According to the Los Angeles Times, Clawson’s employer, Union Pacific, has released a statement condemning his comments, but he is still employed.
CBS has released a statement distancing itself from the hit reality show, now in its 15th season: “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.”