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'Big Brother' host Julie Chen defends not grilling GinaMarie Zimmerman and Spencer Clawson


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/23/2013 

Big Brother host Julie Chen has explained why she didn't press GinaMarie Zimmerman and Spencer Clawson for more answers during the finale regarding the show's most controversial season yet.

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Many of the fifteenth season's houseguests were caught making racial, homophobic and sexist slurs on Big Brother's 24/7 live-feed. One of the most outspoken contestants happened to be Aaryn Gries, whom Chen reprimanded and grilled earlier in the season after her eviction.

Given Zimmerman was fired from her job as a pageant coordinator for also making offensive comments -- such as referring to welfare as "n**ger insurance" -- viewers wondered why Chen arguably let her off the hook after she finished as the season's runner-up behind winner Andy Herren during the show's finale last week.

"We wanted the finale to be a celebration of who won, and not have the spotlight moved away from that person. We didn't want the whole show to be me scolding the houseguests," Chen told Entertainment Weekly.

Clawson had made some jokes about child pornography this season that weren't well-received in addition to calling Herren, who a gay, a "f-g" and using the word "c-nt" to describe women in the house.

Chen expressed how Gries seemed to be the most embarrassed about her behavior. Gries had cracked jokes about African Americans in the house, called Herren a "queer" and told Asian American houseguest Helen Kim to "shut up and go make some rice."

"I actually did not spend any time with any of the Houseguests after they left the house. But I did hear that Aaryn was very concerned with how she was received by America and was very quiet and shell-shocked," Chen told EW. "As for Spencer and GinaMarie, I don't think either realizes they did anything offensive. They're probably finding out right now as they are combing the Internet."

Despite backlash from viewers this season, Chen insisted casting won't be any different going forward. She believes being more careful in the selection process won't change the fact a person could act completely different while living in a diverse house for an entire summer.

"This summer may have been controversial and offensive, but it was real. You have to keep in mind people put their best face forward during the casting interviews. We didn't see any of this behavior during casting. And once the game starts, you can't predict how people will behave -- that speaks to the unpredictability of the show," Chen said.

The Big Brother host also added she thinks Herren definitely deserved to win the game and the season's special "Big Brother MVP" twist probably won't return next year.

"Andy played an incredible social game. He's also a thinker. He left personal items in each room on purpose, just so he could enter at any time and work himself into a private conversation. He absolutely deserved to win and none of the Houseguests disliked him," Chen told EW.

"I do think MVP worked. Just to see the paranoia run rampant and take over that house, it was worth it. I doubt that we'll do it again, because that trick has been done. I'm sure we'll think of something more devious for next summer."

(Photo credit CBS)


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