If you had a camera broadcasting your every word and movement 24-7, would you put a filter on your behavior? CBS’ Big Brother has seen a fair share of controversy over the years because its contestants have expressed racist, sexist or homophobic views on the online livestream — and now, according to Us Weekly, the network is doling out consequences to houseguests who display inappropriate behavior.
CBS’ statement, provided to the outlet on Tuesday, reads: “Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and capturing every unfiltered moment and conversation in their lives. At times, the houseguests reveal prejudices and exhibit behavior that we do not condone. The producers have addressed two such incidents that were seen recently on the 24/7 online feed. In both cases, those involved have been warned about their inappropriate behavior and offensive comments, as well as future consequences. These events will not be part of any future Big Brother broadcast on CBS.”
The two incidents in question involved current season 20 houseguests Rachel Swindler and Angela Rummans in one incident and JC Mounduix in another.
According to Us, during the live stream on Monday, Swindler and Rummans had a conversation about their tanning habits that had racist overtones. Swindler said, “My stomach is as dark as Bay[leigh Dayton, a Black season 20 contestant]. I can’t be in the sun for two days straight. … I will change ethnicities. I already have.” Rummans replied, “I’m looking ghetto here with the skin coloration.”
During the same livestream on Monday night, Us reports that Mounduix went around the house with an ice cream scoop, asked contestant Kaycee Clark to “open up [her] vagina,” touched another female houseguest between the legs while she was getting a massage from a friend and tried to put the ice cream scoop under a blanket being used by Kaitlyn Herman.
Big Brother is no stranger to controversy surrounding its live streams, but these two incidences occurring so close together are definitely not a good look. CBS would have been better off implementing stronger consequences years ago. Us notes in their report that the 2013 season was particularly bad, with two contestants making racist remarks and another making homophobic and misogynistic comments. The latter, Spencer Clawson, also said during a live stream that he liked to watch child pornography. Yikes.
It’s good that CBS is finally putting its foot down, but that’s just the thing — fans have been complaining for years about houseguests behaving inappropriately. Plus, the consequences CBS mentioned in its statement are just nebulous enough not to have any real teeth. It seems like the network is more concerned with maintaining viewership than actually dealing with the prejudices of its contestants, and in today’s climate, that could be a problem.