The "Big Brother" racism controversy has been raging on while the contestants inside the house seemingly have no idea. Several have lost their jobs or had their employers speak out against their behavior. As the controversy bubbled over, CBS aired some of the remarks that were previously only heard on a live-feed on the Internet on the show a week prior.
"It was ultimately part of the story in the house," Allison Grodner, an executive producer on “Big Brother” told The New York Times after Sunday's episode included some of the hate speech.
In the episode, Aaryn Gries became the temporary leader of the "Big Brother" house and other contestants spoke out about her comments. “That gave us a launching pad to be able to tell this story,” Grodner said. “I do feel it would be irresponsible to put hate on the airwaves just for hate’s sake. You need to have some sort of context."
Not all comments were included -- contestant Spencer Clawson's praise of Hitler as a great speaker and gay slurs were not aired.
"CBS and 'Big Brother' showed it because it is now driving a story. It is now affecting how the other players want to see her gone," she said of Aaryn. "You can't just put it in there and say, 'Judge her, everybody!' It has to have to do with the game and the rules of the game ... She will have to face consequences."
Chen also discussed how Aaryn's comments affected her personally. "When I first found out that Aaryn, who is a 22-year-old girl, made anti-gay, anti-black and anti-Asian comments, I have to be honest, the Asian ones hit me the most ... It stung. I took it personally," she said. "You know, I’m a human being and the really sad part was it took me back to the '70s when I was growing up in Queens and when I was 7-years-old getting bullied, being called a chink and people pulling their eyes. But it took me back so many years and I thought to myself, 'Wow, I haven't heard comments like that [in years].' The year is 2013 ... and then I felt ignorant. I felt like thought, 'Wow. There are still people who live in this country who feel that way and act that way? Yes, there is. Yes, there is. And afterwards, it just made me sad because she’s 22 and she’s college educated ... It felt mean-spirited. It felt ugly and it felt mean."
CBS has also spoken out about the "Big Brother" contestants' hate speech and released a statement shortly after the controversy first erupted and said it does not condone that behavior.
“Your neighbor is probably using racial slurs behind closed doors, no offense to your neighbor,” "Big Brother" executive producer Grodner told The Times. “There’s a very important discussion here that people will hopefully have as a result of all this."
"Big Brother" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET, Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET and Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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