Editor’s note: This article was originally published July 8, 2013
A Texas State University student appearing on the CBS television network’s "Big Brother" program has been dropped by an Austin modeling agency after she uttered racist and homophobic comments that were broadcast live on the Internet.
Zephyr Talent announced on Facebook that it was severing ties with Aaryn Gries, 22, effective immediately.
"Aaryn, season 15 cast member of ‘Big Brother,’ revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we (Zephyr Talent) do not condone," the company wrote. "We certainly find the statements made by Aaryn on the live Internet feed to be offensive. Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by Aaryn, either on any live feed from the House or during the broadcast, are hers alone and do not represent the views or opinions of Zephyr Talent. Upon much consideration, we have decided to release Aaryn from her contract with Zephyr Talent."
Some of the controversial remarks, which were made last week, were broadcast during Sunday night’s episode of "Big Brother." Viewers heard Gries make several racist comments about black and Asian contestants on the show; she also called an openly gay contestant a "queer."
A petition has been started, asking CBS to boot Gries from the show but, so far, that hasn’t happened – and it probably won’t.
The network released this statement: "‘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. We certainly find the statements made by several of the houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive. 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."
A native of San Angelo, Gries, according to her bio, is studying psychology at Texas State University.
Based upon last night’s Nielsen ratings, it appears the controversy might be helping "Big Brother" attract new viewers. Deadline Hollywood reports the show saw its audience grow 11 percent week to week.