The mother of a Big Brother US contestant who was heavily criticised for making anti-gay and racist comments, has spoken out to voice her “disappointment” at the comments, but has hit out at CBS network, accusing it of taking advantage of the comments to gain ratings.
The eviction of Aaryn Gries drew a massive spike in viewing figures, as 8.36 million viewers tuned in to see the contestant answer for the comments. The comments, however were only aired on the edited broadcast of the show after almost a week of complaints that they had not been featured.
Talking about one housemate Andy’s nominations, Gries originally said: “No one’s going to vote for whoever that queer puts up”.
Gries’ mother Elizabeth Owens wrote in a statement to the LA Times: “While I love and continue to support my daughter Aaryn, words cannot describe my disappointment in some of her comments made on Big Brother,
“These inappropriate comments certainly do not represent the value system under which her father and I have raised her. Aaryn is a young 22-year-old college student that has spent 70 days living in a fish bowl and making mistakes for America to see.”
After her eviction Julie Chen, the show’s host, questioned Gries on her remarks, which she denied having any memory of making. She later attributed them to her Texas upbringing.
Owens went further to criticise CBS, and Chen, however, accusing them of highlighting the comments, in order to boost ratings.
Some viewers pointed out the comments after watching the live feed. Many called for them to be aired on the edited version of the show, and after several days, Big Brother in the US eventually aired footage taken of Gries, following calls for the comments to be revealed to the public.
The segment focussed on Gries, who was also dropped by her modelling agency after she referred to a gay housemate as “queer”, and said to an Asian-American housemate to “shut up and go and make some rice”.
A Change.org petition was started, calling for the eviction of Gries, which was signed by over 13,000 people at time of publication.
Having been evicted from the main house, Gries is now part of the “jury house”, and will help determine the winner.