Aaryn Gries, a 23-year-old student, has been one of the faces of controversy in the “Big Brother 15” house this summer after racist and homophobic remarks she made on the live feeds made it into CBS’ broadcasts of the show.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Gries’ mother Elizabeth Owens responds to CBS’ decision to air her daughters remarks and apologizes for the things Gries said.
“While I love and continue to support my daughter Aaryn, words cannot describe my disappointment in some of her comments made on ‘Big Brother.’ These inappropriate comments certainly do not represent the value system under which her father and I have raised her. Aaryn is a young 22-year-old college student that has spent 70 days living in a fish bowl and making mistakes for America to see,” writes Owens.
Owens continues that she hopes Aaryn will “own her mistakes and apologize emphatically to the people she has hurt,” saying that she’s confident Aaryn will “learn from any mistakes she has made and use this experience to grow and heal.”
In her statement, Owens also says that Aaryn took an Africa-American teen to her senior prom, that Aaryn’s first true love was Cuban-American, that she has cousins of Japanese descent and that Aaryn “has never discriminated against anyone for their sexual orientation
whether within our family or not. Aaryn truly loves all people equally.”
Owens also lambasts CBS and “Big Brother” host Julie Chen for their treatment of Aaryn on the program, claiming that they used Gries’ comments to help boost ratings.
“It appears that it was beneficial for ‘Big Brother’ to focus on the negative comments made by Aaryn to boost ratings,” writes Owens. “Again, I DO NOT condone those inappropriate comments, but I — and I am sure the entire ‘Big Brother’ audience — would have appreciated the show’s producers also airing her complete statement acknowledging the mistakes she made and more of her apologies to the Houseguests while still ‘in the house.'”
She continues, “I am disappointed that a woman of Julie Chen’s stature would choose to attack Aaryn and influence America to judge the fallacies she [Chen] seems to have about Aaryn.”
A rep for CBS responds in its own statement, “We believe the show has handled a very difficult situation appropriately, and that Aaryn’s comments on the live 24/7 Internet feed and on the broadcast speak for themselves.”
“Big Brother 15” airs Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday nights on CBS.