'Big Brother' Racist Comments Air on Television, Rile Up Viewers

Image: 'Big Brother' Racist Comments Air on Television, Rile Up Viewers Aaryn Gries, left, and GinaMarie Zimmerman.

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 03:34 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Racist and homophobic comments from "Big Brother 15" houseguests — two of whom are paying the price for their opinions by losing their jobs — fired up social media sites as viewers responded to CBS' airing the comments on television Sunday.

Two houseguests in particular, Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman, have been particularly vocal in their attacks on other guests. Gries was fired from the Zephyr Talent modeling agency last week, and Zimmerman, a beauty pageant coordinator, was let go from East Coast USA Pageant Inc.

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One tweet questioned whether the show misspelled Gries’s first name.

CBS got some criticism from fans, too, because the show did not originally include the racist or homophobic comments in its regular telecast. The comments could only be heard on the show's online live stream.

One anonymous commenter on a CNN article said, “By editing out these comments, CBS and the BB production is silently condoning it. In fact, they are supporting it. … They are propping up racism and homophobia by hiding it away and SHOWCASING the perpetrators as nothing more than young people showmancing and having fun.”

Some people stood up for Gries as news of her opinions made the rounds.

On TMZ.com, where a video clip of her comments can be seen, Pablo wrote, “I don't think a shallow bigmouth is the same as genuine racism. She's a bone head for sure, but you're making her a racist caricature far more than she probably is in reality. Respect is priceless. Ruining people for their offhand comments about racism or being gay is often times just as hypocritical as treating those groups poorly.”

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ET reported that "Big Brother" host Julie Chen spoke about the issue on a taping of “The Talk.”

“I have to be honest, it stung,” she said, according to ET. “Those things, in my opinion ... it felt mean-spirited. It felt ugly and it felt mean.”

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