'Big Brother 15's' Julie Chen: Aaryn Gries' Asian comments 'felt ugly' and 'mean'; hopes the houseguests learn from this
"It's amazing that they put it in the show. [Aaryn Gries] didn't make this as a joke in front of a whole group of people. She's clearly saying these things in whispered tones, in private, and if she's willing to say these things out loud, what is she not willing to say that she's thinking?" says Aisha Tyler.
"You've seen me make jokes about being Asian-American ... but I'm Asian and it's always in good fun," says Chen. "Those things, in my opinion, watching her say, 'Go make a bowl of rice,' it felt mean-spirited. It felt ugly and it felt mean."
However, Chen does point out that the show did not finally choose to air the comments because it was time to "judge" the houseguests. The comments are now affecting the game-play in the house.
"CBS and 'Big Brother' showed it because it is now driving a story, it's now affecting how the other players want to see her gone. If it didn't drive story and it didn't have a dynamic on what it is to the elements of the game, it maybe wouldn't -- you can't just put it in there and say, 'Judge her, everybody,'" says Chen.
She certainly has a point. While the live feed watchers were reporting on the comments, we all understand why the show hadn't aired them yet. None of the comments had been a part of a confrontation, none of the comments had affected the game. It was just ugly idle chatter, said in hushed tones or only to a small group of people where no one spoke up against the comments.
Airing that wouldn't really make a lot of sense in the narrative of the show, honestly.
But now it's out there and Aaryn and GinaMarie Zimmerman will have some consequences to face, though we would urge CBS to not let only Aaryn and GinaMarie be the faces of the controversy, because several other players have said disparaging things about gays and women.
"[Aaryn] will have to face consequences. She and the rest of the hosueguests have no idea we're discussing this, they have no idea it's made national headlines. ... Playing 'BIg Brother' is like forcing yourself to look at yourself in the mirror. What I hope is that people who have made anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Asian, anti-anything comments, when they come out and they read the headlines, that they say to themselves, 'Wow, is that really who I am? And wow, is that really who I want to continue to be?'" finishes Chen.
"Big Brother" airs Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday nights on CBS.