Big Brother Controversy

Shortly before the latest installment of Big Brother commenced, I wrote a blog (and appeared on Pat Lalley’s 100 Eyes program) about the reasons that I am a so-called “superfan”. My desire to view the behind the scenes action of a reality show has led me to write for a blog, BigBrotherGossip, and produce a podcast that shockingly has hundreds of thousands of listeners.

I obviously had no idea at the time that this season was going to go down as one of the most controversial reality shows of all time. Who would have guessed that over half the contestants would utter unacceptable words and phrases? Or that these outbursts would hit news outlets all over the world?

Because of the outcry, CBS has been forced to address the issue, and two of this week’s three episodes have dealt with the controversy. Sunday’s episode featured a medley of sorts of a small portion of these horrible antics, and last night Julie Chen tossed a pointed question at the main offender, Aaryn.

While Aaryn has been the primary media target, she is hardly alone. GinaMarie actually has teh worst outburst of the entire cast, using an infamous word for African-Americans to describe the type of insurance she has. A number of others have used homosexual slurs, and a few Asian stereotypes have also been heard on the “live feeds”.

There has also been a huge outcry that these offenders should be immediately banished from the show, but I don’t agree with that idea. Again, this show is broadcast on the internet 24 hours a day, and sadly it is almost inevitable that questionable material will come out of somebody’s mouth. They’re not breaking any laws, nor any rules of the show, and the will certainly see real world repercussions when they are finished with the show. (Two of the prime offenders, Aaryn and GinaMarie, have already been fired from their jobs.)

If there’s any silver lining to this, it is the fact that these actions are bringing to life the fact that racial prejudice still exists. Why this surprises anybody is beyond me, but it is an opportunity for all of us to have a discussion about these issues. Remember, these aren’t actors or entertainment professionals. These people are regular citizens, more or less, and the fact that these phrases come so freely from their lips proves that we still have a ways to go in this country.

In fact, this kind of discussion sort of happened on the Big Brother set. Amanda, a vivacious real estate agent from New York, took it upon herself to have a chat with Aaryn about her behavior. She informed her that not only have others in the house noticed some of the things she has said, but these comments are heard by those watching on the internet. Unfortunately, this coddled little twit denied that she has said such things, and then bizarrely went on a rampage on how tough it is to be a blonde.

After a tumultuous eviction last night, more racial commentary was heard, and again Amanda tried to put a stop to it. Again, she failed. Aaryn is certainly becoming the most hated reality star of all time, but people like Amanda (along with Candice and Howard) are showing even the most low-rent reality show has some heroes.

To hear more of my take on these events, check out the Big Brother Gossip Show, which tapes every Saturday night at 9 pm CT.