‘Big Brother’ Racism: David Girton Roots For Aaryn Gries; Contestants GinaMarie Zimmerman’s And Spencer Clawson’s Bigoted Comments Exposed
Aaryn Gries, currently under fire after CBS aired racist comments she made while competing on Big Brother, has found an ally in ex-‘showmance’ partner, David Girton.
Girton says he is still rooting for her to win despite having seen her controversial behavior. “I know she made harsh comments, but America doesn't really know who Aaryn is [deep] down inside,” Girton told The Hollywood Reporter. “That house changes you and makes you a different person, and she's just mad at the rest of the houseguests because I got voted off. Anybody could say those things out of anger, or she didn't realize cameras were around. I know people say those types of things every day, and she happened to be the person America caught saying those things. It sucks what she has to deal with after when she gets out, and I feel bad for her.”
The ‘harsh comments’ in question were made by Gries and originally only aired as part of the Big Brother live internet feed. Gries’ comments went viral and were broadcast after viewers petitioned CBS to air them in an episode. CBS has a long-standing policy of editing such discriminatory comments out of Big Brother. “We always say that these are real people and they are not being censored in there. And they have opinions and so forth that we don’t necessarily agree with and condone and want to put out there further, to be honest. We really don’t want to put hateful things out there in our edits. And so for the most part, when this goes down, we keep that out of the show,” executive producer Allison Grodner said in a 2010 interview.
Before the network aired some of the offensive footage, the news of Gries’ use of racial slurs ultimately led to her firing from her modeling agency, Zephyr Talent. “Aaryn, season 15 cast member of Big Brother, revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by Aaryn on the live Internet feed to be offensive… Upon much consideration, we have decided to release Aaryn from her contract with Zephyr Talent,” the Texas-based agency posted on Facebook.
Aaryn is not the only houseguest who has suffered real-world consequences for her actions on the reality television program. Fellow contestants GinaMarie Zimmerman and Spencer Clawson are also in jeopardy of losing their jobs after being caught making insensitive and offensive remarks on the live feed.
Zimmerman, who made derogatory remarks about Asian contestant Helen Kim with Gries, has reportedly been fired by the East Coast USA Pageant, her employer of five years, for using the ‘n-word’ during her time in the house, among other things.
“We are actually thankful that this show let us see GinaMarie for who she truly is as we would never want her to be a role model to our future contestants," said Lauren Handler, East Coast USA Pageant CEO, in a statement. "We are unable to contact her at this time but when she returns from the ‘Big Brother’ house we will be terminating her employment for her unforgivable behavior. In a business where we are surrounded by beauty every day we are saddened to see something so ugly come from someone we put on a very high pedestal."
Though viewers were impressed and surprised when CBS decided to air a short montage of Aaryn’s offensive behavior, for many it is too little, too late. And subscribers of the live feed continue to upload videos on YouTube to expose the shocking behavior of the contestants. Some have even started a petition to remove Aaryn from the show due to her racist remarks.
CBS has, thus far, refused to eliminate Aaryn from the Big Brother competition, and whether the network will choose to air more clips from the live feed remains to be seen. “We are very mindful of the important issues that have been raised by these recent comments," CBS said in a statement. "With regard to the broadcast version, we are weighing carefully issues of broadcast standards, an obligation to inform the audience of important elements that influence the competition, and sensitivity of how any inappropriate comments are presented."