After initially ignoring the controversy generated by some Big Brother contestants' racist and homophobic comments on the show's 24-hour webcam feed, CBS is now taking further steps to distance itself from the contestants.
The network ran a "worst-of" reel featuring the offensive remarks on the July 7 episode, and this week's show featured a viewer discretion disclaimer at the start of the hour. "Big Brother is a reality show about a group of people who have no privacy 24/7," the disclaimer read. "At times, the Houseguests may reveal prejudices and other beliefs that CBS does not condone. 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 disclaimer preceded an episode that once again saw Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman go on the offensive against African-American houseguest Candice Stewart. After Candice complained about Aaryn flipping over her mattress, a war of words began. "Whatcha gon' do, girl?" Aaryn asked. During the argument, GinaMarie also taunted Candice, at one point saying, "When is the black gonna come out?" (Watch the fight here.)
After fellow contestant Amanda Zuckerman once again warned Aaryn that her comments are being perceived as racist, Aaryn apologized to Candice, suggesting that her remarks are jokes that have been taken the wrong way. Although Candice accepted the apology, she later confessed during her diary room session that she doesn't believe Aaryn's apology was sincere.
Host Julie Chen addressed the comments for the second time on Monday's episode of The Talk. "Am I the only one who feels so enraged?" she asked. "That is the third time I've watched that clip and it does not get any easier. It is 2013 and race is still a deeply personal issue and so extremely hurtful. And unless you have ever been on the receiving end on it you have absolutely no idea what it's like, unless you've walked a mile in someone's shoes who has been on the other side.
Added Chen: "I think [Aaryn] is ignorant, young, immature and I hope she watches that and is as appalled as we all are."
Aaryn and GinaMarie have already been fired from their day jobs after making racially insensitive comments on the live feed. A third contestant, Spencer Clawson, has been formally chastised by his employer for his insensitive remarks.
Do you agree with CBS' handling of the situation?
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