CBS Insufficient Statement About Homophobic 'Big Brother' Contestant Jeff Schroeder Dodges Real Issue
CBS has issued a statement about the homophobic rant made by Big Brother contestant Jeff Schroeder on the show's live feed this week, in which he suggested gays are pedophiles in an argument with another contestant about gay Harry Potter wizard Dumbledore.
"Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and seeing every moment of their lives. At times, the Houseguests make comments, reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. 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 individual(s) speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program."
Andy Dehnart of Reality Blurred, who notes that the livefeed segment will not likely be aired on the broadcast version, explains why this statement, and CBS' actions surrounding it, are BS:
While I appreciate the network’s condemnation of “prejudices and other beliefs that [they] do not condone,” the problem is that they end up condoning it because of the way the show is edited and broadcast. As I’ve pointed out before, the show could easily air exchanges with offensive words bleeped out, just as they do for swear words. But they don’t, so the majority of the show’s audience doesn’t know what happened, and that’s the real problem. And simply dismissing it via a statement released to the media that only a fraction of the show’s audience will read does not go far enough to condemn what happened. They need to do that publicly, on television.
But the biggest problem is that executive producer Allison Grodner consistently edits the show to create characters that don’t exist in real life. Part of the reason why some people have an angry response to criticism of Jeff is they see him through the eyes of the editors: an affable guy with a crush on a nice girl, not a person who has hurled gay slurs, angrily dismissed a fellow houseguest’s confession about a family member, and believes that gay men shouldn’t be around children.
Another critic and I asked Grodner about this last summer, and I’d encourage you to read her full answers. The gist is that she doesn’t want to “put out” awful opinions and beliefs onto the airwaves, and thinks that their edit preserves the “intent,” which she and I obviously disagree with: the fight in which Jeff hurled gay slurs was edited in a way that made him look like the victim.
GLAAD calls CBS' response to Big Brother contestant Jeff Schroeder's homophobia "inadequate", but its complaint doesn't get to the meat of the issue the way Dehnart's does. GLAAD's rather unhappy that the network chose to bring Schroeder back for another season, and chose to hire him on another show as well.