After 15 seasons of validating America’s most narcissistic loudmouths with reality TV stardom, CBS has learned that the obnoxious, manipulative, self-absorbed contestants they’ve hired to say and do nasty things on Big Brother are sometimes also racist. And homophobic and misogynist, and various other prejudices that have made themselves evident in record time this summer, as Reality Blurred has pointed out with its exhaustively compiled list of all the horrible stuff they’ve said so far.
For example, this current cast has only been on the air since June 26, but already it’s seen houseguest GinaMarie suggest that an Asian contestant “should be kissing our ass and serving us some fucking rice,” casually drop the ol’ N-word, and comment that fellow contestant Candice’s “blackness is showing.” Elsewhere, Aaryn said of Candice to “be careful what you say in the dark; you might not be able to see that bitch,” then lamented that gay contestant Andy has an unfair advantage because “everyone loves the queers.” Jeremy, who likes to call the women “bitches,” gleefully admitted to touching Kaitlin’s vagina—which he called “a nice meat wallet”—just to “see what she’s working with.” Spencer, who likes to call the women “cunts,” literally praised Hitler and the Nazis, even as he acknowledged that some people might take issue with that. Cunts, probably.
Naturally, all of these exchanges have aired not in CBS primetime but rather in the 24-hour live feeds available only on the Internet, due to the network’s policy of not putting “hateful things in our edits” that could reveal the “reality” of their television. And just as naturally, some have expressed anger about that sort of whitewashing —including former Big Brother contestant Ragan Fox, who’s issued an open letter to the network asking, “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?” To which the answer is, of course, that it makes for better cast photos. (Also, “diversity.”)
Faced with the evidence that their policy of seeking the nation’s most blithely ignorant explicitly to assert their dominance over each other could occasionally result in abhorrent behavior, CBS has issued an official pat response, telling BuzzFeed, “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.” Yet, they remind, those statements cannot be blamed on the network or the show’s producers (except for the part where they’ve implicitly enabled the people making them by hiding those statements from TV viewers, then rewarding them with continued attention). In other words, hate the players, not the game specifically constructed around hateful players.