Why CBS Needs to Air the Racist Comments from the Houseguests of ‘Big Brother 18’
As we detailed earlier the Big Brother 18 house has already come into a bit of controversy. The live feeds for Big Brother 18 have caught the houseguests saying some pretty offensive things and Twitter has already reacted strongly. None of these comments, short of the houseguests calling women "bitches," have made it to air on CBS, but this should change. Here are 3 reasons why CBS should air some, if not all, of the houseguests' off-color remarks.
One of the big incidents of offensive language revolved around the Asian-American houseguest and returning player, James. Apparently, although it was not caught on the live feeds, James spread a lie about Victor asking Nicole out on a date. At least that is what Victor and his allies believe James did. Alone this is a pretty annoying and bizarre thing that only really bored people would use to get angry. The incident spiraled out of control, however, when some of the houseguests, mainly Paul and Bronte, used the opportunity to call James several racial slurs.
This is compounded by the fact that Jozea, easily the most hated houseguest in the Big Brother 18 house, has been firmly of the opinion that Da'Vonne and Zakiyah love him similarly because they share a similar racial background. None of this is true and in fact, Da'Vonne and Zakiyah are two of the strongest supporters for getting rid of Jozea. After the racial controversy on Big Brother 15, Big Brother probably doesn't want to dive back into the racist well, but these comments should be aired.
Not Airing Would Be Akin to Condoning It
This is the big one. If CBS chose to not air these comments, particularly the ones about James, it could be seen as condoning it. Obviously, CBS and Big Brother need to edit a story together out of tons of footage to create a cohesive narrative for their episode airings. Not every conversation and aspect of the houseguests' lives is going to make it the weekly episodes. Big Brother 18 has to cover all the strategy and gameplay of the houseguests' lives before they can dive into what they do and say day-to-day and minute-to-minute. There is a lot of gameplay going on specifically in these first couple of weeks. There is not a lot of room for downtime.
However, the fight between James and Victor's allies can easily fit into the show's ongoing narrative of new players versus veterans. The source of the argument itself is inane but the comments underline a very serious issue. Big Brother shouldn't just let the houseguests save face because it doesn't fit the narrative of that week's episode, especially when there is such an easy "in."
If Big Brother doesn't air the comments that suggests that they are not important and that is just wrong. The houseguests should be held culpable for their actions. Suggesting that these awful things are not important is very close to saying they are acceptable. Offensive, racial comments should never be acceptable to anyone.
America Needs to See the "True" Houseguests
The viewers of the live feeds, which are a premium, paid-for service, have a certain privilege over other Big Brother 18 viewers. They get to see the houseguests with very little interference from the producers. There is no editing involved, the footage is unfiltered and it is certainly not juxtaposed with interviews from the Diary Room of the houseguests explaining what is really going on in a conversation. The live feeds are very different from a televised episode.
It's the most organic representation of the Big Brother 18 house. It can't be 100% true because the houseguests know they are still being filmed but it is as close as viewers are going to find. This is other good reason for Big Brother to air the racist comments on TV, especially when it comes to certain houseguests like Bronte.
Bronte has presented herself as squeaky clean and adorable in her stay in the Big Brother 18 house. Bronte wants to look like the innocent schoolteacher and sweetheart. She certainly plays up that image in the Diary Room but Bronte's comments about James spotlight another side. Big Brother 18 viewers don't need more reasons to dislike players like Paul or Jozea but the live feeds expose Bronte's public and private image as two separate entities. All Big Brother fans should know exactly what Bronte is saying in the house and not just when she is in front of the Diary Room camera.
The same thing applies to people like Corey, who hasn't exactly said racist things but has been offensive in his own ways. Corey, right now, is being presented as one of the good guys in Big Brother 18. He is situated as a nice guy and on America's favored side of the house. America should be able to see all sides of Corey and not just the side that aligns with the houseguests that America, overall, enjoys.
The Houseguests Shouldn't Get Away with It
The implication of CBS not airing the racist comments is that they are condoning them. Really, though, that's just conjecture and supposition. It might feel that way but there could be a number of reasons why Big Brother didn't air the comments and it has nothing to do with the feelings of the people actually producing and creating the show. The one thing that can't be denied is that if Big Brother doesn't air the comments the houseguests get off relatively free.
A very small section of the Big Brother audience actually watches the live feeds and an even smaller section reads spoilers about the live feeds. The televised viewers are the biggest part of Big Brother 18's audience. If the racist comments are not aired on TV, the majority of the Big Brother 18 watchers will have no idea that the houseguests said anything remotely questionable. No matter how offensive they were in the house, most of America will never know. The houseguests enter an agreement when they walk into the house that anything they say or do can be televised. It makes them responsible for their actions and words. They should be held to that responsibility.
In Big Brother 15 with Aaryn we saw that the things people say inside the house can affect their lives outside. Aaryn did not get a favorable reaction from America because of the things she said inside her Big Brother house. While that seems harsh, it's not like she didn't deserve it. Aaryn said things that offended people, and no one forced her to say rude, racist, and awful things. Similarly, no one is making Bronte, Corey, and Jozea come off badly. They simply are coming off badly. Twitter might be upset about the comments but all of America has a right to make a decision about the houseguests' comments.
But what do you think? Should CBS air the racist comments? What do you want to see happen? Do you think this whole thing is being blown out of proportion?
Big Brother 18 airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8pm and Thursdays at 9pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)
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