Gries, a 22-year-old college student from San Angelo, TX, initially told Big Brother host Julie Chen she was just stereotyped due to her Southern background when asked about the comments after she was evicted from the game during Thursday night's broadcast of the fifteenth season's ninth live eviction show.
"In the early days of this game, you said some pretty harsh things about your fellow housemates. [Fellow Big Brother houseguest Amanda Zuckerman] even tried to warn you -- give you a head's up that some of your words, others were interpreting as being racist. How do you respond to that?" asked Chen, an Asian-American who had previously publicly admitted she was personally offended by the comments.
"Being Southern, it's a stereotype. And I have said some things that have been taken completely out of context and wrong and I do not mean to ever come off racist. I -- that's not me, and I apologize to anyone that I've offended for that," Gries replied.
Chen then opted to quote some of the comments Gries made about Candice Stewart, an African-American, Helen Kim, an Asian-American, and Andy Herren, who is gay, during her 70 days in the Big Brother game -- resulting in Gries claiming she did not remember making any of the remarks before the show's studio audience burst into awkward laughter.
"We want to point out, everyone in the house went in knowing that everything they say, everything they do gets broadcast live on the Internet. So when you say the intention was not to hurt anyone, let me just read back a few of the things you said," Chen said. "Referring to Candice, you said, 'Be careful what you say in the dark, [you] might not be able to see the bitch.' Referring to Helen, you said, 'Shut up, go make some rice!' And referring to Andy, you said, 'No one is going to vote for whoever that queer puts up!' Can you see how those things could be interpreted as racist or homophobic?"
"I do. I do not remember saying those things," Gries said, causing the studio audience members to begin laughing and drown out her comments.
"And those things were not... mean to be serious, and if I said those things -- I feel horrible for that and I regret that. I don't even know what else to say about that. I'm not," she continued after the audience quieted back down.
Chen then continued her interview by asking Gries if she felt she had grown from her Big Brother experience.
"Being locked away for 70 days from friends and family and the outside world, do you think playing Big Brother has taught you anything about yourself? Or taught you anything?" the host said.
"I definitely do. It's taught me a lot about people and life -- and just life in general. I mean, I feel like a completely different person leaving the house and I love everyone in there. And honestly, Andy and I are great friends, Candice and I are great friends -- I love Helen more than anything," Gries responded before the audience began laughing again.
"That hurts me that -- that I would say something like that," she added afterwards.
Chen then closed the interview by wondering of Gries had any "final thoughts" before offering the Big brother houseguest some unsolicited final commentary of her own.
"I just honestly -- I feel horrible. I feel like, in Texas, like we say things that are -- sometimes we joke, and we don't mean it, and I really feel bad that this is how it's being seen and how I've come across to people," Gries said. "I don't want to seem like that person, and I really do respect everyone in this game, although we've had some really hard times because we're all fighting for our lives in the game."
"You know, you're in a unique spot because when this is all over, you're going to get to go home and watch a whole lot of footage of yourself living for 70 days. After you watch all this footage, I hope -- and I think -- you might have a new perspective on things,' Chen replied.
"Thanks," Gries said.
Now that she has been evicted, Gries will join fellow evicted houseguests Helen, Candice and Jessie Kowalski on the Big Brother jury which will eventually decide the season's winner. Like the rest of the jury, she will remain sequestered and cut off from contact with the outside world until the show's September 18 finale.