My Thoughts On The BB15 Racism
‘Dude, shut up, go make some rice’.
This is what this season of Big Brother has come to.
On Wednesday 10 July 2013, CBS aired racist comments made by contestants Aaryn Gries (22) and GinaMarie Zimmerman (32) directed towards fellow contestants Helen Kim (37), Howard Overby (29) and Candice Stewart (29).
‘She’s the first Asian I’ve met who doesn’t work at a nail salon,’ in a stereotypical Asian accent.
‘Be careful what you say in the dark, you might not be able to see the b____’
‘Look at how the white fish go to the top and the black fish go to the bottom, they’re segregated.’
What has clearly been shown is that racism is still very much prevalent in our society today. There is a quintessential thing we must remember – this is reality TV. As CBS as told us, these are the views of the contestants being expressed. If they are prepared to say these things knowing full well that they are being watched 24/7, then what does this say about who they are as people?
When Amanda confronts Aaryn to be careful about what she says, she calls it ‘the most annoying and obnoxious thing I’ve ever heard’ and that ‘I wish I could care about it more, but I don’t’.
And that’s the sound of a lifeboat sinking.
Aaryn then complains about how she herself is always judged for being a blonde. But have any of the contestants publically expressed such views towards her? No. Even if they had these, they kept them to themselves and focused on the game. Which Aaryn clearly hasn’t done.
You would think that people would learn from their mistakes. But not Aaryn. In the next episode, she takes out her frustration by flipping over Candice’s bed and throwing her clothes on the floor. When Candice asks about it, she mocks her with a ghetto accent and says, ‘whatcha gonna do gurl? Whatcha gonna do.’ GinaMarie jumps in and says, ‘you wanna see my black come out?’ Howard is forced to remove Candice from the room and
What has been really impressive is the way that the houseguests have reacted to this by standing against it.
The good news – both Gries and Zimmerman have been fired from their jobs. Zephyr Talent released a statement on their Facebook page:
‘Aaryn, season 15 cast member of Big Brother, revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we (Zephyr Talent) do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by Aaryn on the live Internet feed to be offensive. Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by Aaryn, either on any live feed from the House or during the broadcast, are hers alone and do not represent the views or opinions of Zephyr Talent. Upon much consideration, we have decided to release Aaryn from her contract with Zephyr Talent.’
They later posted:
‘Zephyr Talent appreciates the overwhelming support of our difficult decision to release Aaryn Elizabeth Gries from her contract. We feel that this is in the best interest of our other clients and our company. Zephyr Talent fully supports free speech, but we also know that free speech does not mean free of consequences. Zephyr Talent, as a company, has always and will continue to be strong supporters of the LGBT community, and we celebrate all races, religions and cultures. While we disagree with Aaryn’s statements, we defend her right to make them; however, due to their direct conflict with many of the values we hold at Zephyr, we cannot continue to allow her to represent our company, nor do we feel comfortable representing her.’