The long and controversy-plagued 15th season of Big Brother finally came to an end—and the newly crowned winner was among a handful of contestants who lost their real-life jobs as a result of voicing offensive remarks.
The latest season of the popular CBS reality-competition show gained much unwanted publicity, with several incidents in which players made statements that were racist, sexist, and almost criminal (local police from one player’s hometown launched an investigation after a joke was made about child pornography). Several cameras that offer a continuous 24-hour feed of activities in the household captured more outlandish behavior.
Each of the show’s final three contestants, to varying degrees, were participants in some of these conversations.
Andy Herren, perhaps the least offensive of the final three, was crowned the winner, earning himself a $500,000 cash prize. If his ill-considered words about students with disabilities—all the more surprising given the fact the he was, until very recently, a college lecturer—raised ire and eyebrows, they didn’t approach the sometimes hateful level of discourse from fellow finalists GinaMarie Zimmerman, who earned $50,000 for second place, and Spencer Clawson.
Zimmerman was fired from her job as a pageant coordinator during the show because of her outright racism toward others in the house. Clawson, while showing anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic behavior, also had the police looking into a disgusting joke he made about child pornography after his then-employer, Union Pacific, called his hometown police department in Arkansas. Union Pacific was doing everything it could under its collective bargaining agreement to get rid of Clawson.
Herren, it seems, quit his job before Big Brother 15 — with a new pile of cash, he won’t need to find a job right away.