CBS and the producers of “Big Brother” aren’t the only ones a little perturbed about the tack Season 15 has gone on, especially considering that a number of the house guests have been overheard on the live Internet feeds delivering racist, homophobic, and misogynistic remarks. Former contestant and Season 13 (2011) winner Rachel Reilly says she’s disgusted as well.
Reilly and her husband, Brendon Villegas (also a “Big Brother” alum), told TMZ July 3 that they were both offended by the hateful words being tossed about on the new season of the hit show.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” she told the gossip website.
The two were united in slamming the hate speech of several members of the show. As TMZ pointed out, Reilly and Villegas have a vested interest in the show this season. Elissa Slater, the 27-year-old nutritionist Season 15 house guest, is Rachel Reilly’s sister.
“We think it’s vile and disgusting and are completely horrified that people can even think such hateful things,” the couple told TMZ.
They added, “Being former houseguests we understand how people can turn on each other … but the offensive things that Aaryn, GinaMarie, Katlin, Spencer and Jeremy say disgust us, and make us sick to our stomachs.”
Reilly and Villegas spoke out after the controversy over the hateful language being used on the show resulted in the two “Big Brother” contestants being fired from their jobs. On the same day.
Aaryn Gries, a 22-year-old college student from Texas, was fired by her modeling agency, Zephyr Talent on July 3. Hours later, GinaMarie Zimmerman, a 32-year-old pageant coordinator from New York, was fired by East Coast USA Pageant, Inc.
The matter has drawn considerable public attention since racist remarks have been made about at least three of the shows contestants, two of whom are African American and one an Asian American. At one point GinaMarie Zimmerman even referred to welfare as “n***** insurance.” An openly gay contestant has been referred to with the derogation “f**.” Several remarks have also been made about women, including where one house guest referred to a female contestant as a “c***.” Zap2It.com has been keeping up with the live Internet feed of the show and has chronicled some of the worst language.
CBS and the producers of “Big Brother” issued a disclaimer that they didn’t “condone” the “offensive” language of the house guests but that the responsibility of what is said in the “Big Brother” house is that of the individual house guests.
But Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas aren’t the only ex-contestants that find the dialogue in the “Big Brother” house offensive this season. Ragan Fox, a contestant during Season 12, wrote an open letter to the “Big Brother” producers challenging them to openly air the comments being made by the more intolerant house guests.
Fox asked: “What’s the point of casting racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities if production’s going to edit out the racism, ethnic discrimination, and homophobia that these people encounter inside the house? Moreover, why do historically marginalized players have the exclusive burden of narrating past acts of racial, ethnic, and sexual brutalization when we see this sort of discrimination enacted INSIDE THE HOUSE?” (In the original, along with the caps, the text was underlined and in bold-face.)
Thus far, CBS has not done so.