Former Big Brother stars are speaking out in support of Season 24 houseguest Taylor Hale, who was reduced to tears in the latest episode after she was made to feel like an outsider by the rest of the cast.
The bullying Hale experienced has been called "reprehensible" by Season 23 winner Xavier Prather, who was a part of "The Cookout," an-all Black alliance that led all six members to the BB23 finals. Other members of "The Cookout" also spoke out, saying that the actions against Hale, which include being called "aggressive" and accused of throwing a temper tantrum if put on the chopping block, were microaggressions.
"Members of the Black community (especially Black women) and other people of color stand no chance in the Big Brother House due to the perpetuation of micro-aggressions and unconscious biases which plague our society," Prather tweeted on Sunday. "I acknowledge my shortcomings during my time on Big Brother and can't help but feel partially responsible for the reprehensible behavior I see being exhibited by current houseguests who consider me one of their 'favorites.' For that, I'd like to apologize for being an accessory to an ongoing issue."
He continued, "In the future, I hope it doesn’t take a 'Cookout' for any Black houseguests (or any POC houseguest) to finally escape the feeling of being ostracized within the Big Brother House for simply existing. Change is a MUST!"
A casting producer for the show, who opted to remain anonymous, told Variety that they felt the situation was "really disappointing." They shared that the show's casting team is 50% BIPOC and they do as much as possible to make sure the cast always feels safe.
Variety confirmed the production had conversations with this season's houseguests regarding microaggressions and provided sensitivity training, but former houseguest Azäh Awasum doesn't think that's enough.
Awasum, who was also a member of "The Cookout," tweeted, "I see questions on my timeline showing some confusion over what Taylor is experiencing. Giving the definition of colorism for context. Colorism: prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group."
"I made a cognizant effort to 'dial back' in the house for these exact reasons," she continued. "Dark skinned women always have this in the back of our heads. CBS teaches about racial microagressions but a section on colorism would be beneficial. Taylor's light will shine outside this house."
Big Brother Season 24 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.