Julie Chen Had An Emotional Reaction To Tiffany And Claire's Tough Elimination Discussion On Big Brother 23

screenshot julie chen big brother
(Image credit: CBS)

Warning: Don't read ahead unless you've watched this week's Big Brother 23!

It's getting complicated in the Big Brother 23 house for Tiffany Mitchell. She's been in the dominant “Cookout” alliance since Day 1 but has struggled to fall in line with the plans of the group. This week, they tested her allegiance when it came to the matter of her outside ally Claire Rehfuss needing to be eliminated. Mitchell and Rehfuss ultimately had a heart-to-heart over what was going to happen, which apparently even incited an emotional reaction from host Julie Chen.

The short and sweet of what went down in the Big Brother house is that during Tiffany Mitchell’s hotly contested HOH, a twist of fate at the veto competition left Mitchell with no other target but Claire Rehfuss. Mitchell delicately explained that she couldn't be the one to vote out one of her fellow Black contestants and, in a beautiful moment, Rehfuss shared in the diary room that she understood the decision, considering the legacy for minorities in the Big Brother game.

Big Brother fans should have guessed that Tiffany Mitchell and Claire Rehfuss' tough discussion hit Julie Chen in all the feels. The longtime host ambiguously added to “Love one another” to her traditional sign off at the end of the episode. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Chen shared the full extent of her emotional reaction to the events that unfolded, saying,

I cried when reading about it in the internal daily logs of what's happening in the house. And I cried when watching it. It was heartbreaking and yet a beautiful moment of grace, forgiveness, understanding, and wisdom. In my humble opinion, both Claire and Tiffany know the Lord and it shows.

I agree, Julie Chen. Tiffany Mitchell and Claire Rehfuss’ moment on Big Brother 23 was practically Shakespearean. It was the most genuine, human exchange of the season, if not the whole show. Very rarely are contestants who are vying for the likes of $750,000 on reality TV willing to fall on the proverbial sword in the name of ethics. In fact, many players notoriously renounce their ethics altogether. (Apparently, Rehfuss still has no hard feelings for Mitchell from outside the house.)

With Claire Rehfuss’ vote-out (and later also Alyssa Lopez’s) on Thursday’s double eviction night, Tiffany Mitchell’s decision allowed for history to happen on Big Brother 23. For the first time in the show’s 21 years, the final six are all Black players, guaranteeing that it will have its first Black winner as well. Julie Chen has previously shut down talk that the Cookout alliance’s strategy was actually “reverse racism.” She still maintains that the Cookout’s secrecy is “unheard of” in Big Brother and they should be congratulated for what is a “historic moment on many levels.”

Even though she sent her closest friend out the door in service of the Cookout, it’s very much apparent that Tiffany Mitchell is in trouble. The remaining guys clearly want her out, but I still have hope that my frontrunner will outstrategize them, as she has in the past. The next episode of Big Brother 23 airs on September 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET, so tune in to find out which Cookout member is the first to go.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.