Big Brother's 25th anniversary season already has a controversy on its hands, only a few days into the game, involving houseguest Luke Valentine.

Luke, a 30-year-old illustrator from Weston, FL who currently resides in Coral Springs, FL, was removed from the Big Brother house after casually dropping the N-word in a conversation that was captured on the Paramount+ live feed, Variety reported.

"Luke violated the Big Brother code of conduct and there is zero tolerance in the house for using a racial slur. He has been removed from the house," CBS told Variety in a statement on Wednesday, August 9.

"His departure will be addressed in Thursday night's show."


In videos of the live feed segment circulating online, Luke can be seen and heard talking to fellow houseguests Cory Wurtenberger and Hisam Goueli in the Big Brother house's "Have Nots" bedroom as additional houseguest Jared Fields was resting off-screen in one of the room's beds.

"We are in the f-cking cheese room, [N-word]," Luke said, before laughing and correcting his last word to "dude," as he pointed at the room's cheese-shaped bed. 

Luke continued, "Anyways, we were in the f-cking cheese room."

Cory and Hisam looked wide-eyed and appalled as Luke spoke, and then Jared responded with, "Yo, yo. You are off the f-cking ledge!"

Luke, with a beaming smile across his face, apologized to Jared, who is Black, twice before Hisam and Cory told Luke that he needed to go to bed.

Additional clips also appear to show Luke attempting to further address his behavior privately with Jared after the other houseguests have left the room.

"[It was] a little slip of the tongue," he told Jared after approaching him as he still laid in bed.

"I don't give a f-ck bro," Jared replied, seemingly unconcerned.

"Hey buddy, hey buddy," Luke responded.

"Yeah, right, I should have made you feel uncomfortable real quick, 'Like woah bro, what'd you say?'" Jared continued.

"I should have been laying face-down on the floor with you standing over me, or something -- would make them feel better," Luke said.

"I don't give a f-ck," Jared repeated.

"Shit... Jesus Christ," Luke said.

"Yeah, I think they just don't know how to..." Jared replied before the clip abruptly ends.

Many Big Brother viewers immediately began calling on CBS to "set an example" and kick Luke out of the house.

"Show current and future players that language like that will not be tolerated," Big Brother's Season 15 winner Andy Herren tweeted on Wednesday.

"Production loves hiding racism and homophobia and transphobia when straight white men are involved. Hoping they actually do the right thing and address Luke's comment. The way it so casually came out of his mouth is really upsetting."

Before Big Brother's 25th season premiered last week, executive producer Rich Meehan addressed claims the show intentionally casts problematic houseguests for drama and entertainment.

"That's definitely 1,000% not true," Meehan told Variety. "But we do cast a wide net of people from all different walks of life, all different upbringings, so sometimes you do get surprised along the way."

And producer Allison Grodner added, "It's a social experiment using a group of people with different life experiences. They all bring that in and learn from each other. They learn, they change, they grow. Hopefully, by watching that, we’re also making a positive impact on the outside world."


Luke's controversy certainly isn't the first time Big Brother has dealt with racist themes and scandals.

Last year, Kyle Carpenter from Mississippi made headlines for trying to form an alliance that excluded Black players. He expressed fear another people-of-color alliance, like the famous "Cookout Alliance," might form.

And Taylor Hale endured bullying in the house, with many fans viewing the acts against her as micro-aggressions.

In 2020, Memphis Garrett from Tennessee was accused of saying the N-word on the live feed when describing David Alexander, who is Black, to fellow houseguest Cody Calafiore.

Many Big Brother fans pushed for Memphis to be removed from the show, but CBS conducted its own investigation and found no wrongdoing on his part.

CBS told TMZ of its no-tolerance policy in September 2020, "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," the network said, "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."

A source connected to production told the website that Memphis had just said, "David's an...." before trailing off and not finishing his statement.

Big Brother's Season 21 winner Jackson Michie from Tennessee had faced racism and misogyny accusations only minutes before he was crowned champion of the season and confetti fell on his head.


The scandal clearly tainted Jackson's win, as he left the house with a stunned expression on his face.

Ovi Kabir accused Michie's alliance of bullying, Tommy Bracco said women in the house had viewed Michie as "condescending" and "degrading," and David Alexander and Kemi Faknule accused Michie of making racist comments and decisions while playing the game.

"I know who I am and I know who I'm not, and I respect women more than anything. I'm very abrasive and I have a lot of energy and passion in everything I say and do. And I'm that way towards everyone. And is it right? No," Michie explained to Entertainment Weekly after the season ended.

"I know that I need to work on it and tone it down in a lot of areas, but I don't see race or gender or anyone when I'm having a conversation. And if someone upsets me, they upset me the same way that a guy would."

And back on Big Brother 15, Texas native Aaryn Gries was caught saying racist and homophobic comments.

"Dude, shut up. Go make some rice," Aaryn was shown saying. "I look, probably, like a squinty Asian right now... No one's going to vote for whoever that queer puts up."

During a short edited series of different remarks made by Aaryn, houseguest GinaMarie Zimmerman was shown joining in on the trash-talking.

"[Candice Stewart] is already on the dark side because she's already dark," GinaMarie joked of their fellow houseguest, who is Black.

And Aaryn added, "Be careful what you say in the dark because you might not be able to see the b-tch."

After live-feed viewers began complaining about the comments on social media and message boards, Aaryn and GinaMarie both lost their jobs.

"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 reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone," the network said in a media statement at the time.

"We certainly find the statements made by several of the houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive."

The network added in 2015, "Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a houseguest appearing on Big Brother, either on any live feed from the House or during 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."

Aaryn eventually apologized in an interview with her local San Antonio Express-News newspaper.


"I've been in and out of depression since the whole thing happened," Aaryn said about a month after the Big Brother 15 finale aired on CBS.

"I'm not a racist in any way, but I know I said things that were insensitive and mean... It's probably the worst moment of my entire life so far."

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.