Warning! The following contains spoilers from the Big Brother All-Stars live feed as of Wednesday, September 16. Read at your own risk!
The Big Brother franchise has been marred by racism in past years when houseguests were captured on live feeds saying racial slurs or making other derogatory remarks towards people in the house. Big Brother All-Stars has made efforts to give a voice to its minority houseguests on current events, but it seems once again the CBS network has been put in the hot seat after Memphis Garrett may have been caught almost uttering a racial slur. UPDATE: CBS has since responded to the situation after a close examination of the footage.
The clip below comes from Wednesday night, during a conversation between Memphis Garrett and Cody Calafiore. The two are talking about black houseguest and former Season 21 player David Alexander. Memphis and David have had some tension between them since Memphis' HOH run in Week 2, and his allegation that David has no place in the game as a rookie. When discussing something he did that day that was considered ignorant, Memphis had this to say:
As stated in the tweet above, some viewers are hearing what sounds like Memphis Garrett about to utter a racial slur, but he stops himself midway. The clip has gone viral within the Big Brother All-Stars fandom, with viewers asking for Memphis to be expelled from the game.
Others have disputed the claim, stating that Memphis Garrett was referring to David Alexander as "an idiot," but then cut himself off because he was just so frustrated by what he heard. An alternate camera angle of the moment has circulated, and has some skeptical about whether or not a racial slur was actually said.
There are a couple of key things for casual Big Brother fans or out-of-the-loop folks to consider in the situation. Memphis Garrett already found himself in hot water this season following his mockery of autistic houseguest Ian Terry, which other houseguests participated in. Memphis has also been outwardly antagonistic of David Alexander ever since Week 2 when the two men first clashed over the "rookie" comment.
At the same time, Memphis Garrett has commonly referred to David Alexander as "an idiot" throughout all of Big Brother All-Stars. The two aren't in any shared alliances, and David did make some early game moves that a more experienced Big Brother player may not have. That's to say Garrett has called David an idiot so many times, that it would make sense if that was what he was saying before stopping himself.
CBS has since released a statement to clarify the situation and the Big Brother All-Stars stance on hate speech:
We are aware of press reports about Big Brother fans on social media accusing a houseguest of whispering an offensive racial slur during the show’s 24/7 live feed. The producers have listened to the scene using enhanced audio. Additionally, the Network’s program practices team isolated and played back the scene several different ways using professional, studio grade audio equipment. After close examination, it has been determined a racial epithet was not said or uttered. Hate speech will not be tolerated, and those who violate the policy will be removed from the Big Brother House.
According to the statement, Big Brother All-Stars found no wrongdoing on behalf of Memphis Garrett. With that being said, it's nice to see that hate speech will not be tolerated, and that houseguests who violate that policy will be removed from the game.
Big Brother fans know there's an added layer of complexity to this situation, and it relates to an incident that occurred in David Alexander's first season of Big Brother, Season 21. Jack Matthews, a contestant who was caught making racially charged remarks towards other houseguests during the season, had also seemingly called David the n-word while talking to Jackson Michie about dishes.
CBS and Big Brother All-Stars have decided that Memphis Garrett did nothing wrong. The show has a history of removing houseguests for inappropriate or over-the-line behavior, but has been noticeably silent in recent years on how it addresses racism. Jack Matthews was allowed to stay in the game in Season 21 until his eviction despite many clear incidents, so there was speculation on whether or not this incident would be addressed by the network, especially given the difference in opinion amongst fans.
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