The big news with the current season of Big Brother on CBS is not even two weeks into the 3 month game, we have a serious controversy. Several of the houseguests are nasty people who spew some nasty racist, homophobic, and sexist comments that went out live over the 24 hour feeds. It hit the Internet and led, post Paula Deen, to be picked up by several news organizations. That made CBS and the producers have to offer public statements and spend their Sunday episode on the issue. Being a long time viewer of the show, I can tell you that no one should be surprised by the ugliness. CBS hires awful people and profit from that awfulness.
This controversy isn’t new for Big Brother:
Identifying “story” as the reason for the comments’ inclusion is interesting, considering that when CBS golden boy Jeff Schroeder used gay slurs during a fight in the Big Brother house, they were edited out, even though doing that made Jeff seem more like a sympathetic victim. Here, week-old comments were included out of their actual context; there has been no evidence yet that Aaryn’s racist comments have affected her game after becoming head of household on Thursday.
Again, I’m glad that the comments aired, but let’s not allow the network and producers to get all self-congratulatory. Speaking of, CBS gave the New York Times a brand-new statement today:
“We are very mindful of the important issues that have been raised by these recent comments. With regard to the broadcast version, we are weighing carefully issues of broadcast standards, an obligation to inform the audience of important elements that influence the competition, and sensitivity to how any inappropriate comments are presented.”
If you choked on your saliva during the part about their “obligation to inform the audience of important elements that influence the competition,” you are one of those who have been watching and paying attention to Big Brother for years, as the dumbed-down, edit-by-numbers broadcast edition constantly misinforms its audience about what actually happens in the house.
Finally, and perhaps most bafflingly, Grodner told the paper that the producers and network don’t “look for people who might say things like this,” and added,
“Your neighbor is probably using racial slurs behind closed doors, no offense to your neighbor. There’s a very important discussion here that people will hopefully have as a result of all this.”
Yes, there is, but let’s not kid ourselves that Big Brother is going to prompt a national discussion about racism, homophobia, and sexism. The important discussion that I hope people have as a result of this is about how a broadcast television show has for years been presenting a different reality and hiding behind a pretend moral high ground while continuing to profit off awfulness.
For years CBS has leaned on the houseguests being awful to each other and then selectively editing it for whatever “story” they want to tell.
What is different this year is what happened to Paula Deen. It created a rich environment where the public is tired of the racism, sexism, and homophobia heard by people in the public eye.
The comments the various people are accused of saying isn’t just about an occasional n-word or c-word slipping out:
GinaMarie said that, because of her income level, she receives “n***** insurance” (she whispered the n-word, so it’s possible she said the version that ends with “a”). She whispered it to both Nick and Andy, neither of whom challenged her.
GinaMarie said Helen, who’s Asian, “should be kissing our ass and serving us some f**king rice.”
Spencer said that the medical torture conducted by Nazi doctors was beneficial and praised Hitler’s speaking abilities, even while acknowledging that he’d be criticized for that.
Katilin said she likes gay people but they’re “untrustworthy in a game like this.”
These people seem to be educated yet are ignorant of how the show works even after all these years. The producers, who complain if even one of the houseguests doesn’t have their microphone, didn’t put a stop to the ugliness when it started and before the Sunday show, edited out the racism, sexism, and homophobia from the broadcast show on a regular basis. They ignored that it existed even while giving people access to the live feeds.
Why would CBS allow these chuckle heads to continue? Ratings. Bad publicity brings the people in to see the train wreck.
It makes me sad. I already stopped watching the broadcast show a couple of years ago because of the manipulation – now I don’t even care what is really going on because I know nothing will happen in the game to these awful awful people. What was a mindless summer trashy TV is just not worth watching anymore. Each year I keep thinking CBS will change and each year they don’t. I’m out.
*Side Note* The show normally births some parody twitter accounts but with the nastiness going on, some have shut down in protest. One account, Chenbot V15, shutdown until the Sunday episode but their kiss off tweet was kind of ironic:
Sorry guys – I'm not tweeting, even as a parody acct, for a show that allows a cunt to make homophobic remarks. #bb15
— Chenbot V15 (@Chenbot_BB15) July 5, 2013
Someone complaining about homophobia by labeling the person saying it a c*nt… (shakes head)