CBS has responded to Big Brother 20 houseguests’ behavior—a conversation with racially charged language and repeated, unwanted physical touching—by releasing a statement that differs from its usual response to these kinds of incidents. The people involved have been “warned” and may receive “future consequences,” the network said.
The specific incidents involve JC Mounduix’s unwanted touching of other houseguests’ genitalia, and a Monday night conversation between Angela Rummans and Rachel Swindler, as reported by Big Brother live feed tracker Hamsterwatch:
Rachel: “my stomach is as dark as Bay’s”
Angela: “I know, I’m looking ghetto here with the skin coloration,..”
Rachel: “I will change ethnicities, I mean I already have basically.. two more days in the sun I will — won’t be good”
“Bay” refers to Bayleigh, who is black. Rachel and Angela are white. (Here’s an explanation about why the word “ghetto” “carries a lot of weight,” and a thoughtful piece in which a woman writes about realizing “how racially charged the word ‘ghetto’ was.”)
Earlier, on Friday, JC Mounduix entered the HOH room holding an ice cream scooper. He first goes to the HOH bed and clicks the scooper several times, and the women on the bed scream.
He walks over to Kaycee, lifts up the blanket covering her, and puts the ice cream scooper underneath. “Here, this feels really good,” he says. “Look.”
Kaycee says, “No, don’t put it on my vag.” JC removes it and tries to do the same thing to Tyler (“look!”), but Tyler says no and covers himself. JC then walks back to the HOH bed and, while trying to put the ice cream scooper under the comforter over Kaitlyn, says, “This feels really good. Open up your vagina.” She says, “no.”
Someone asks, “How do you know?” and JC says, “because I’ve tried it already.” He’s asked “on who?” and he says, “on myself. I have a vagina.”
Early Saturday morning, when four women were massaging Tyler, JC entered the room and rubbed his hand on Tyler’s crotch.
Tyler reacted immediately, pulling his legs up and covering himself with his hand as Bayleigh said, “Whoa. Whoa.” Tyler, who had his head back and couldn’t see, asked, “What is that?” Bayleigh said, “JC, he’s harmless.”
— hamsterwatch #bb20 🐹⌚️ (@hamsterwatch) June 30, 2018
CBS’ new statement indicates actual action
As Hamsterwatch said in a recap, “It’s only Day 13 and we’ve already got a dumpster fire in the making.”
Late Tuesday, after several news organizations published stories about these incidents, CBS responded with a statement.
That typically wouldn’t be newsworthy, because in the past it’s been an empty gesture—the network has released virtually the same statement multiple times, putting forth the effort to copy and paste but not to change how it produces the series or deals with such behavior.
In 2013, during BB15, when almost half the cast made bigoted remarks, CBS released a statement, and then released the same statement again later that summer after a cast member made terrible jokes. Both of those were nearly the same statement that CBS released in 2011.
But this year’s is not just the usual statement copied and pasted.
The first two sentences are nearly identical to what the network always says—it’s basically an idealized description of the show and an attempt to distance itself from the people they cast and are now employing:
“Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and capturing every unfiltered moment and conversation in their lives. At times, the houseguests reveal prejudices and exhibit behavior that we do not condone.”
The only difference from the 2015 statement is that the phrase “exhibit behavior” has replaced “other beliefs.”
But then it gets interesting, because this time, the network says the behavior has actually been addressed:
“The producers have addressed two such incidents that were seen recently on the 24/7 online feed. In both cases, those involved have been warned about their inappropriate behavior and offensive comments, as well as future consequences. These events will not be part of any future Big Brother broadcast on CBS.”
What the consequences will be are not clear,