CBS issues cop-out statement about its deceptive editing as Braden defends himself

In the aftermath of Big Brother 11’s live eviction episode Thursday, CBS has issued a statement that avoids what really happened and pretends the network is taking the high road, while evicted houseguest Braden Bacha has defended his actions, and added some new bigotry.

First, the Associated Press reported that on Friday, “CBS said the statements were removed from the broadcast because they were offensive and did not meet the network’s standards,” and quoted a statement from the network that said “any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a houseguest appearing on ‘Big Brother,’ either on any live feed from the house or the broadcast, are those of the individuals speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program.”

Yes, they were offensive, and no, they did not have to be broadcast, but the network and the producers of its crappiest reality show are implicitly sanctioning that kind of behavior when the producers of the program essentially fictionalize actual events to make someone’s incendiary remarks evaporate, and thus communicate to future houseguests that they’ll be protected from prime-time embarrassment.

Mostly, it’s a complete cop-out to pretend that CBS is taking the moral high road by keeping this stuff off of its broadcast. As I wrote on Friday, the editors could easily show what happened without including the words themselves, so that excuse just falls apart—never mind that, again, they didn’t just remove the comments, they altered reality, and thus the public’s perception, by making Lydia and Kevin appear to be overreacting to nothing.

As to Braden, following his fantastically awkward interview with an impressive Julie Chen, he made the rounds with the press, and got mixed responses. For example, Entertainment Weekly’s Lynette Rice lamely feigned ignorance, or maybe couldn’t have been bothered to use Google before she interviewed Braden, as she told him, “We don’t know what [Chima] meant by ‘racist comment.’” Seriously, Lynette?

People magazine more directly addressed his statements, and because Braden hasn’t proven himself to be enough of an asshole already, he threw in a bit of homophobia. After saying he had no regrets about what he said about Lydia (“She’s gross-looking and she does weird things and she hangs out with old men and she’s tattooed from head-to-toe and I think she’s disgusting. I have no respect for her.”), Braden told the magazine that he doesn’t regret his actions toward Kevin. That’s because—get ready for it—Braden said Kevin is “flamboyantly gay and you can’t punch a gay guy, let alone push him. I just wanted him to get out of my face. It was like saying, ‘Shoo, button.’”

I wish I knew what that meant, and just so he would have had actual consequences for his behavior, kind of wish Braden had punched one of the straight guys, since clearly he knows about some new rule that defines who one can punch in the house, or in actual life, based upon their sexual orientation.

Reality TV World’s interview challenged Braden more than any other I’ve read, and perhaps as a result, the site received the most incomprehensible (and alternately horrifying and hilarious) answers from Braden. An excerpt:

Reality TV World: So do you think the comments were appropriate?

Braden: Absolutely not, part of the heat of the moment and things got out of hand. And I apologized. It was out of no malice whatsoever did I mean anything by those.

Reality TV World: Why do you think you used those comments?

Braden: I don’t know man, because you’re stuck in a house with people for like, non-stop for 24 hours and it was, you know, they were jumping around me like crazy animals. So that’s that with that, thanks.

Reality TV World: So you don’t normally use that type of language?

Braden: No, I’m not — I grew up in [unintelligible hometown] so my whole baseball team was spanish.

Reality TV World: I’m sorry?

Braden: My whole baseball team growing up was spanish, I get along with them quite well. So yeah, it was out of non-derogatory comments. Unfortunately it came out that way.

Finally, the producers’ broke their own rules—Surprise! If something’s inconvenient they just ignore it or manipulate it to make it work for them—and told Chima what happened outside the house, specifically that her speech was censored on the live broadcast.

The AP reports that she later told the other houseguests, “I said, I don’t think it’s fair because I don’t think they showed when it first was said. And I was like, ‘If someone’s a racist, they should be portrayed as one. You shouldn’t edit it to make them look good.’”

Exactly.

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