Big Brother Racist Controversy: Host Julie Chen Took Comments "Personally"
There is no such thing as immunity when it comes to ignorant slurs. Big Brother host Julie Chen broke her silence on The Talk on Monday, July 8, finally addressing the controversial racist and homophobic remarks that several houseguests have been making on the hit CBS show -- which, she revealed, she takes "personally."
"When I 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," she said on talk show. "I heard about her describing Asians as 'squinty-eyed' and 'go make a bowl of rice.' It stung. I took it personally. I'm a human being."
Chen, 43, has hosted the reality show for all 15 seasons and seen a lot of different personalities emerge in the house, but hearing the competitors' distasteful comments this time around really hit home, she said.
"The really sad part was it took me back to the '70s when I was growing up in Queens and when I was 7 years old being bullied," the Chinese-American journalist said. "Being called a chink and people pulling their eyes. But it took me back so many years and I thought to myself, 'Wow, I haven't heard comments like that [in a long time].'"
"Then I felt ignorant. Wow, there are people who still live in this country [in 2013] who feel that way and act that way," she continued. "And afterward, it just made me sad because she's 22 and she's college-educated."
Aaryn Gries, the primary offender highlighted on Sunday's episode, isn't the only culprit, however. Fellow housemate GinaMarie Zimmerman has also made several unsavory remarks, including a quip that housemate Candice Stewart, who is African-American, is "on the dark side because she's already dark."
Both Gries and Zimmerman have already been dropped from their respective day jobs, unbeknownst to them as they continue living in the sequestered house to vie for the show's grand prize.
Most recently, a third houseguest -- Spencer Clawson -- has also reportedly been close to losing his job as a railroad conductor for the Union Pacific after calling a gay housemate "Kermit the F--" and praising Hitler as a gifted speaker.
Clawson's mother, Donna Clawson, tells TMZ that her son is not being himself on the show, however. "This is not a guy that's a bigot or a racist and he's not that way at home," she told the site. "If you're in a group, you go along with the group talk and that is what is happening to him."