Just a few days after former Big Brother contestants spoke out against on-set bullying and racism, longtime host Julie Chen Moonves is weighing in on the controversy.
"Microaggressions are real and they happen," Chen Moonves said in an interview with E! News' Daily Pop on Thursday. "I don't think most people, when they are committing it, that they are even aware of what they're doing."
The host went on the describe Big Brother as "pressure cooker situation." When it comes to watching something like the show's live feeds, which monitor contestants 24/7, she said, "What we need to do is ask ourselves, 'Who am I? Who is anyone to judge somebody else?'"
"We haven't walked in their shoes. We haven't been in the Big Brother house," she continued. "And a lot of times when someone is feeling insecure about themselves, or seeing another individual as a threat to their game, that's when you see classic Big Brother 'I'm going to trash talk someone behind his or her back.'"
She went on to say that she has also been the target of racial bias, particularly early in her career, when she worked at a television station in Dayton, Ohio. At the time, she says she was seen as unfit for an anchor position because the city didn't "have a big Asian community, [so] how can people relate to you?"
As far as racism and bullying in the Big Brother house is concerned, Chen Moonves said the show will "bring out the best in you, or the worst" and the best way to handle things is to "practice some compassion and some mercy and some grace to one another."
"It's tough," she said. "I hope people see that we may not all look alike, sound alike, talk alike ... but I guarantee you there is way more that unites us than divides us."
Big Brother airs Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays on CBS.
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Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.
TOPICS: Big Brother, CBS, Julie Chen, racism