Big Brother participants make homophobic and racial slurs, CBS does nothing

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BIG BROTHER

Having watched the first week of Big Brother 15, one fact keeps beating me over the head:

This year’s cast members are really dumb.

But whatever, it’s no skin off my back. While it’s annoying watching stupid people try to be smart, they’re not hurting anyone. So I thought, at least.

I found out on Thursday that more than a few of the contestants have been seen and heard making racial and homophobic slurs, repeatedly.

Ragan Fox, a former cast member wrote a post documenting some of them. From the post:

Feed watchers have watched Spencer call women “c#nts” and spit the word “fag” in Andy’s face. Similarly, Aaryn Gries complained that Andy would most likely get next week’s MVP because “people love the queers.” Aaryn’s also demanded Candice, an African American woman, say “asked, not axed” and suggested Helen, the season’s sole Asian American houseguest, should “go make some rice…

Houseguests GinaMarie, Aaryn, and Kaitlin referred to historically marginalized players as “tokens.”

There’s more. From CBS News:

Contestant David said that the bedroom sheets smelled bad because “black Candice” had laid on top of them. There has also been multiple reported instances of the N-word being said on camera.

If you’ve watched the show, you’ll know David’s probably hit his head on his surfboard too many times, and the fact he’d talk like this means he’s likely following the lead of the others. The group has made a decision: white and straight is right.

In a release, CBS News stated the TV station does not “condone” the remarks and it finds them “offensive.”

It goes on to add, “Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a houseguest appearing on ‘Big Brother,’… are those of the individual(s) speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program.”

In a wonderful show of shirking all responsibility, CBS places the blame squarely on the participants. To me, this is a problem. CBS has dropped the ball in a massive way, and it’s taking none of the heat for a show it produces.

But this is the network’s fault.

First, they’ve filled the house with an ignorant (and low IQ) group — a poor representative of our species. No idea why they’ve gone this route this year, but maybe after seeing brains such as Ian and Dan run the show last year, they’d had enough of intelligence beating their more camera friendly (hot) houseguests.

Second, do they not put cast members through some sort of training before sending them onto a TV show where everything they say for three months will be caught on camera? When I became a frosh leader at McGill University, I went through a four hour sensitivity training session that reminded me how comments I might find normal could be hurtful to others. Somehow McGill and other universities do this for frosh leaders, yet CBS can’t educate cast members before putting them on national television.

Third, now that the comments have come into the public light, where the hell is the network’s response? Aaryn’s modeling agency has it bang on – they fired her. Not only are they not allowing her to represent their company, they are taking a moral stance.

Having witnessed their “houseguests” making these hurtful (and idiotic) comments, CBS could have nipped the situation in the bud, telling them it wouldn’t be permitted before the minorities were targeted further.

As much as they say they don’t condone it, they haven’t done anything, proactively or retroactively, to fix it.

If you have the power to stop something bad from happening and you choose to do nothing, you’re an accomplice. And allowing this behaviour to continue on a show Americans, young and old, are streaming live online 24 hours a day… you’re pretty much encouraging it.

Get your act together, CBS.

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Omar A has worked for 24 hours, the Canadian Press and TSN. He graduated from the Journalism program at the University of King's College
@omarcanuck

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