CBS is trying to distance itself from the racism controversy currently plaguing Big Brother. Prior to the Sunday, July 14, episode of the reality series, the network issued a disclaimer to viewers about the content -- reportedly the first such disclaimer in the show's 15 seasons.
"Big Brother is a reality show about a group of people who have no privacy 24/7. At times, the Houseguests may reveal prejudices and other beliefs that CBS does not condone," CBS said in a printed message aired just before Sunday’s episode began. "Views or opinions expressed by a Houseguest are those of the individuals speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS. Viewer discretion is advised."
The episode that followed once again brought controversial contestant Aaryn Gries front and center, as she and two others -- GinaMarie Zimmerman and Kaitlin Barnaby -- were seen taunting African-American houseguest Candice Stewart. "When is the black gonna come out?" Zimmerman asked Stewart, after the three women tried to provoke her by flipping her mattress and dumping her clothes on the floor.
Later in the episode, contestant Amanda Zuckerman confronted Gries about her attitude, prompting her to apologize to Stewart. Gries claimed the mea culpa was sincere, but Stewart wasn't buying it.
Gries, an aspiring model who was recently fired from her day job because of the controversy, claimed last week that she hadn't done anything wrong. However, clips from the show's 24/7 Internet live-feed suggest otherwise.
At one point, the 22-year-old houseguest told Asian contestant Helen Kim to "go make some rice." She also made a "joke" about looking "like a squinty Asian" and even mocked Asian nail salon workers, saying, "Why you have no boyfriend? It's because you don't want long nail!"
Her fellow housemates -- minus Zimmerman and Barnaby -- have expressed disbelief at the comments. Marveled Zuckerman on the June 7 episode: "Does she know we're on TV and shouldn't say stuff like that?"