NOTE: This article contains sexual and offensive language and may be triggering for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
CBS has released a statement after Big Brother fans expressed outrage that two Season 20 contestants made racist comments and accused another player of sexual harassment.
“Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and capturing every unfiltered moment and conversation in their lives. At times, the houseguests reveal prejudices and exhibit behaviour that we do not condone,” CBS’ statement read.
The statement continued: “The producers have addressed two such incidents that were seen recently on the 24/7 online feed. In both cases, those involved have been warned about their inappropriate behaviour and offensive comments, as well as future consequences. These events will not be part of any future Big Brother broadcast on CBS.”
The latest incident occurred on Monday, July 2 on the show’s 24/7 live feed when it showed houseguests Angela Rummans and Rachel Swindler discussing their skin tones.
“My stomach is as dark as Bay,” Swindler, 29, said, referencing black contestant Bayleigh Dayton. “I can’t be in the sun for two days straight … I will change ethnicities. I already have.”
Rummans replied: “I’m looking ghetto here with the skin colouration.”
Viewers of the show were quick to pick up the comments, calling the women racist on Twitter and urging producers to step in.
JC Mounduix has also been criticized by fans this season after the live feed showed him appearing to sexually harass his housemates.
The 28-year-old contestant walked around the house with an ice cream scooper and told houseguest Kaycee Clark to “open your vagina,” and tried to place the ice cream scoop under the blanket of Kaitlyn Herman.
Fans on Twitter called for Mounduix’s removal from the show because of his actions.
This is not the first time the series has dealt with controversial issues. In 2013, some contestants in Season 15 made racist and homophobic remarks during their time on the show.
During that time, CBS chose to broadcast the offensive comments made by contestants Aaryn Gries, GinaMarie Zimmerman and Spencer Clawsom in the weekly episodes.
Gries was dropped by her talent agency after referring to several houseguests using racial slurs.
Gries addressed her actions in the house in 2013, saying, “I definitely was shocked with how serious things were taken. Some of the things were taken out of context but either way, I definitely regret saying those things. I never wanted to hurt or offend anyone, and when I realized how I had affected people, it made me really think about how I’m going about things. And I need to be more cognizant of what I’m doing and saying all the time.”
Zimmerman lost her job at East Coast USA Pageant Inc. shortly after the season began after she used several racial slurs.
Following the finale, she voiced regret over some of the “unruly” things that “came out” of her mouth.
Clawsom’s employer, the Union Pacific Railroad, released a statement at the time, distancing itself from him following some of his questionable statements.
“The values represented by Spencer Clawson’s comments during the Big Brother show do not at all align with Union Pacific’s values. Mr. Clawson is on unpaid leave of absence while participating on Big Brother. Union Pacific does not condone his comments,” the company’s statement read. “Union Pacific is acting in accordance with Collective Bargaining Agreement terms regarding Mr. Clawson.”
“I don’t have any hate in my heart. I try to be a good person, and I know there were some comments I said that got taken out of context or even the context they were taken may not have been appropriate,” Clawson said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.