’Big Brother’ Ratings Plummet Amid Anti-Gay, Racial Comments Controversy
Over the past few weeks, the Internet has been heating up with sharp criticism of a few contestants from season 15 of "Big Brother" after they spewed anti-gay and racist language. Though the house guests on CBS’s summer reality shows are getting a lot of online attention, it appears the reality show is not doing so well on air - Deadline.com reports the program’s ratings have reached an all-time low.
Wednesday’s episode "Big Brother" pulled in 5.4 million viewers, scoring a 1.6 demo rating, which is a 17 to 27 percent week-to-week drop, according toTV Line. It should be noted that the reality show is on three times a week and that the day before Independence Day is usually not the best day in terms of ratings.
Last week it was reported that three "Big Brother" houseguests came under fire after it was revealed that they used anti-gay and racist language on the program’s live-feeds, which can be viewed online by fans 24/7, allowing people to track the contestants’ every move.
The remarks came from Aryn Gries, Spencer Clawson and GinaMarie Zimmerman. Gries was caught calling openly gay player Andy Herren a "queer" and Clawson called him "Kermit the fag." Herren was also called "Faggoty Anny." Additionally, Zimmerman was heard using the N-word, and both Zimmerman and Gries used racist language referring to two black contestants, Candice Stewart and Howard Overby.
Gries was also criticized for making fun of Asian contestant, Helen Kim, saying she should "shut up and go make some rice." Zimmerman also said that if Kim was punched in the face it would "make her eyes straight."
Clawson was filmed praising Hitler, saying he was a good public speaker and that Nazi doctors’ experiments on Jewish people during World War II were beneficial.
On Tuesday, CBS released a statement regarding the controversial remarks.
"’Big Brother’ is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 -- and seeing every moment of their lives. At times, the Houseguests reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone," the statement reads.
"We certainly find the statements made by several of the Houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive. Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a Houseguest appearing on ’Big Brother,’ either on any live feed from the House or during the broadcast, are those of the individual(s) speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program."
"Big Brother" host Julie Chen, who is Asian, commented on the players’ remarks during a taping of her talkshow "The Talk,"E! Online reports.
"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," Chen said. "I took it personally. I’m a human being. The year is 2013. I felt ignorant, there are still people in the country who feel and act that way? Yes, there [are]. It made me sad."
Some of the derogatory statements were aired during the latest episode of "Big Brother" on Sunday night.
The backlash from the web has reached a boiling point, resulting in Gries and Zimmerman getting fired from their jobs. Since the women are still in the game, and have no interaction with the outside world, they do not know about their situation.
More recently, Clawson’s employer Union Pacific released a statement regarding the contestant’s statements.
"The values represented by Spencer Clawson’s comments during the ’Big Brother’ show do not at all align with Union Pacific’s values," the company said in a statement. "Mr. Clawson is on unpaid leave of absence while participating on Big Brother. Union Pacific does not condone his comments. Union Pacific is acting in accordance with Collective Bargaining Agreement terms regarding Mr. Clawson."