The democratic ideal of “Freedom of Speech” is more a pretty idea rather then something to defend or fight for. If Paula Deen makes tasteless jokes 30 years ago, she ought to be crucified and humiliated publicly for it. And if contestants on national television happen to say something offensive while being video-taped 24 hours a day, they too deserve all our hate. This we see clearly in the case of Aaryn Gries, a cast member of Big Brother, who is being recorded 24/7, which is being relayed constantly to CBS’s website. She told an Asian contestant to “shut up and go make some rice,” and referred to a gay contestant as a “queer.” For that, protesters are demanding she be kicked off the show, and the agency she models for has unceremoniously dropped her.
“Aaryn, season 15 cast member of Big Brother, revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone,” reads the statement by Zephyr Talent, as E! reported. “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.”
CBS felt the need to weigh in too, and disown the whole thing:
“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,” the statement reads. “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.”
In other words, reality television is okay, as an idea, but don’t make it too real. If a contestant dares say something obnoxious, then get her off the show. People should be only as “real” as ratings allow. And as for freedom of speech, you are only free to use it if you use it in a publicly approved manner.