This season's "Blonde-tourage" alliance boasts several beautiful blondes, but there's nothing pretty about some of the comments that have flown out of their mouths. The show's loyal live feed audience has long been privy to the untelevised drama, but on Sunday night, CBS finally chose to air some of the controversial footage.
On Sunday's recap episode, clips of racist and homophobic comments by contestants Aaryn Gries and Ginamarie Zimmerman were shown, as well as some of the other houseguests' reactions to it.
Gries referred to gay contestant Andy as "queer" and repeatedly made fun of Asian housemate Helen, describing her "squinty" eyes. At one point Gries said, "Dude, shut up and go make some rice," and later mocked Asian nail salon workers. The footage also showed Zimmerman describing African-American contestant Candice as "definitely on the dark side [of the house], because she's already dark."
Previously, it seemed as though CBS was simply planning to distance itself from the comments. Last week, Entertainment Weekly posted a statement from the network that said, "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."
There was no mention of the scandal on the most recent live show, and ratings for the veteran reality series hit an all-time low last week, according to Deadline.
In the aftermath of the scandal, Gries, a 22-year-old student and model, lost two of her modeling contracts. In a letter to readers, Bella Petite Magazine editor Ann Lauren wrote that she was "surprised and disappointed" to read about Gries's behavior on "Big Brother" and eliminated her from the magazine's model search promotions. Zephyr Talent also dropped Gries from her modeling contract, while GinaMarie Zimmerman was fired from her job as a pageant coordinator at East Coast USA Pageant, Inc. (These now-unemployed contestants better be prepared to expect the unexpected when they exit the "BB" house this fall.)
Meanwhile, railroad conductor Spencer Clawson -- who called one housemate "Kermit the f--" -- has been called on the carpet by his employer, Union Pacific. A statement on railroad franchise's website reads: "The values represented by Spencer Clawson's comments during the Big Brother show do not at all align with Union Pacific's values…Union Pacific does not condone his comments. Union Pacific is acting in accordance with Collective Bargaining Agreement terms regarding Mr. Clawson."
A petition on Change.org has already called for CBS to remove Gries -- the most prolific offender -- from the show, while an open letter to producers from "Big Brother" alum Ragan Fox asked, "What's the point of casting racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities if production's going to edit out the racism, ethnic discrimination, and homophobia that these people encounter inside the house?... It would be irresponsible to punt on this issue." Which begs this question: Should CBS punt the offending houseguests out of the house? That could prove to be impossible if they still want to a have a show. A compilation list, courtesy of Reality Blurred, shows that nearly half of this season's houseguests have said something racist, homophobic, or sexist on the live feeds.
"Big Brother" airs on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on CBS.More from this contributor:
- Arts & Entertainment