The show has faced criticism for instances of racism and discrimination with one incident occurring during season 15. Back in 2013 Aaryn Gries made remarks about individuals referring to them as "squinty-eyed." She also used language towards her Black roommate Candice Stewart by calling her "Aunt Jemima ". She even made inappropriate comments towards her Korean housemate Helen Kim asking her to "go make some rice."
GinaMarie Zimmerman and Spencer Clawson also faced accusations of insensitivity during that season. The issue was significant enough that host Julie Chen Moonves addressed it on The Talk.
"I took it personally, " said the host at the time. "It was really disheartening because it reminded me of my experiences growing up in Queens in the '70s when I was 7 years old and facing bullying... It made me realize how ignorant some people still are. Can you believe that?"
Jared Fields (Season 25)
Moving on to another instance Jared Fields from Season 25 used a term directed towards fellow houseguest America Lopez during a conversation captured on feeds in August 2023. Once the clip began circulating fans expressed their outrage on media platforms and demanded Jareds removal from the game due to CBSs zero tolerance policy, against hate speech targeting specific groups.
Jared, who hasn't been kicked out of the game yet later confided in Cory Wurtenberger, who is involved in a relationship, with America admitting that he made a mistake by using a term. According to media recordings he clarified that he doesn't believe she fits that description. He also acknowledged being angry, at the time. Expressed his willingness to admit his error.
Luke Valentine (Season 25)
Luke Valentine, a contestant on Season 25 of Big Brother faced backlash from fans and fellow houseguests after using an racial slur during a conversation in the first week of the show in August 2023.
Following this incident there were calls from Big Brother fans for Luke to be removed from the game. Even Andy Herren, who won Big Brother 15 expressed his support for Luke's expulsion via Twitter on August 9. Andy emphasized the importance of setting an example. Not tolerating language in the game.
On that day CBS made an announcement stating that Luke had been expelled from the show due to his violation of the BIG BROTHER code of conduct. This marked a moment as it was the time a contestant had been removed for racially charged language. The network explained their decision by emphasizing their zero tolerance policy towards using slurs within the Big Brother house. They further stated that Lukes departure would be addressed in Thursday nights episode.
Andy took to Twitter again to express his satisfaction with CBS' decision. He highlighted how years of behavior and language within the Big Brother house had previously gone unpunished. However this time CBS. Took action instead of sweeping it under the rug. Andy viewed this as a step that will bring about changes moving forward, "BB25 " he penned.
Kyle Capener (Season 24)
In August 2022 the hashtag StopProtectingKyle gained popularity in the media as people believed CBS was censoring Kyle Capeners remarks about race during the feeds on Big Brother. During a conversation with contestants Michael Bruner and Brittany Hoopes Kyle expressed that after witnessing the unity of the all Black Cookout alliance in the season he couldn't help but consider race as a factor in his gameplay moving forward. Michael and Brittany later shared this information with the rest of the houseguests leading to Matt Turner nominating Kyle for eviction despite their agreement to make it to the two together. Before leaving the house with a vote Kyle engaged in conversations with his fellow contestants where he acknowledged his alleged unconscious racial bias.
Taylor Hale (Season 24)
Taylor Hale, a contestant from season 24 received attention from fans as multiple houseguests targeted them. Xavier Prather, the winner of season 23 expressed his support for Taylor, outside the Big Brother house. In a tweet posted in July 2022 Xavier referenced the formation of The Cookout, an alliance and highlighted the treatment of Taylor as a prime example. "The way Taylor is treated in #BB24 perfectly illustrates the reasons why The Cookout was formed " tweeted the contestant, from Challenge; USA in July 2022 referring to the alliance of contestants that he helped establish during his season. "Black community members, women and other people of color have little chance of succeeding in the Big Brother House due to the perpetuation of micro aggressions and unconscious biases that our society faces."
The TV personality went on to say "I acknowledge that I had my faults during my time on Big Brother and can't help but feel partially responsible, for some of the behavior I see from houseguests who consider me one of their 'favorites.' For that reason I would like to apologize for contributing to any issues."