CBS President ‘Mortified’ By Racist Comments On ‘Big Brother’
The President of CBS entertainment is finally speaking about the racism scandal that rocked CBS reality show Big Brother last summer. Several of the contestants, including Aaryn Gries and Ginamarie Zimmerman, were caught making outrageously racist and homophobic comments both in private conversations and directly to African-American contestants. CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said she was “mortified” by the footage and hoped it wouldn’t happen again in the future.
“This is the part where we have to remind ourselves that [Big Brother] is a social experiment,” said Tassler. “You are taking people from very disparate walks of life, and confining them in a house for a finite period of time. We do the requisite background checks, which we are obviously upgrading with more and more resources. At the end of the day we felt the producers handled it responsibility. They dealt with it as well as they could.”
On the show, Gries said an Asian contestant should “shut up [and] go make some rice” and called a gay contestant a “queer.” Zimmerman referred to welfare as “ni**er insurance” and infuriated viewers by finishing in second place, which allowed to collect a $50,000 cash prize. Gries was later fired from her modeling agency and Zimmerman was fired from her job as a pageant coordinator.
“I definitely regret that and [would] take that back if I could,” Zimmerman told Hollywood Reporter. “[It’s] unfortunate, because pageants [are] my whole world and so are the kids. It’s a little tear at my heart because that’s my life. I kind of don’t know what I’m going to do without it.” However, she also claimed to understand why her employers fired her and said she hoped they would eventually welcome her back into the organization.