'Big Brother' airs contestants' racist, homophobic remarks

Image: GinaMarie Zimmerman, Aaryn Gries
"Big Brother" aired the racist remarks of GinaMarie Zimmerman and Aaryn Gries on Sunday.Today

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By Anna Chan

"Big Brother" was rocked by controversy early last week when subscribers to the show's live stream heard two contestants make racist and homophobic remarks about their fellow players. And on Sunday night, CBS aired some of the comments made by Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman.

Contestant Howard Overby was the one to call out the issue to some of his fellow houseguests while the two women were out of the room, noting that Gries -- who became Head of Household Sunday -- had made "derogatory" remarks that "you can't apologize for."

The show then aired a series of clips in which the 22-year-old pretended to be an Asian nail salon worker, told a pal that Korean-American housemate Helen Kim should "shut up, go make some rice," and said that if player Andy Herren got MVP, no one would vote for whoever "that queer" nominates.

When fellow houseguest Zimmerman noted that African-American contestant Candice Stewart "is on the dark side, but she's already dark," Gries added, "Be careful what you say in the dark because you might not be able to see the b----."

At one point during Gries' string of derogatory comments, another player said, "Dude, that's rude!"

Overby, who is also African-American, now wants Gries out of the house for her remarks, but it sounds like he won't be confronting her.

"Even when these comments are made in fun, they still hurt and are disrespectful, especially when that person isn't there to hear it and back themselves up," he told the cameras of the comments he heard Gries make. "It could privvy me to losing my temper, but that's a no-no. I have to keep my eyes down the field for the bigger prize."

Contestant Amanda Zuckerman also shared her thoughts about Gries' remarks, saying, "She makes comments that are completely inappropriate, where she makes fun of other people for what they look like and their ethnicity, and I think that's going to hurt her -- a lot -- in the game and outside the game."

The real-world consequences have already begun. In addition to they viewer outrage from last week, on Wednesday, Gries was dropped by her modeling agency, and Zimmerman was fired from her job as a pageant coordinator.

Player Spencer Clawson, who was heard praising Hitler and making gay slurs on the show's live feed, is also in trouble with his employer.

"The values represented by Spencer Clawson's comments during the 'Big Brother' show do not at all align with Union Pacific's values," the company said in a statement on its website. "Mr. Clawson is on unpaid leave of absence while participating on 'Big Brother.' Union Pacific does not condone his comments. Union Pacific is acting in accordance with Collective Bargaining Agreement terms regarding Mr. Clawson."

CBS in the past has opted to not air controversial and inappropriate comments subscribers to the live feed see, and did not address the situation during the show's first live episode on Wednesday night.