Photo Credit: Courtesy of CBS
When the most controversial and mean-spirited season of CBS's Big Brother drew to a close on Wednesday night, the competition for the $500,000 prize came down to three contestants:
GinaMarie Zimmerman, a gorgeous blonde who attracted media attention when she made racial slurs against an African-American housemate, Candice Stewart.
Spencer Clawson, a burly, bearded redhead who could be heard on the live feeds last month joking that he likes child porn.
Andy Herren, an unassuming, gay, community college professor who was the target of homophobic slurs by the season's most notorious meanie, Aaryn Gries.
And the winner was… Oh, thank heavens, it was Herren, making him the first gay contestant to win the reality show. Good for him. But this season, viewers are more interested in seeing comeuppance for the bad behavior that fueled the season's ratings boost.
While inside the isolated house, with no outside contact, Gries lost her modeling contract, Zimmerman lost her pageant-organizing job, and the company that employs Clawson released a statement, distancing itself from him. Presumably, all three would get the bad news after the show ended.
Gries, who endured a tough exit interview with Julie Chen when she was evicted a few weeks ago, has been enlightened about the public's perception of her as a villain. And she's already begun to make amends, apologizing to Stewart and Helen Kim when she returned to the jury house last week. “I just want to say I said some very insensitive and ignorant things this summer and I just want to apologize to both of you for that," she said. "The game gets really stressful, and I feel really bad about some things that I've said and done.”
Gries, amongst other contestants, has already returned to Twitter, thanking her "true fans."
For viewers hoping to watch the contestants' faces fall when told they'd lost their jobs, that hasn't happened. But this morning, Entertainment Weekly did get to talk about the fallout with the final three contestants during the Inside TV Podcast.
"We were actually the first ones to read her the harsh comments from her (now former) employer, East Coast USA Pageant, in response to her behavior," wrote Dalton Ross. "How did GinaMarie respond? Let’s just say she describes it as 'a really big stab in the heart.'” Clawson, too, spoke on the podcast, apologizing and updating listeners about his union's efforts to help him keep his job." To download the podcast, click here.
After the finale, when producers filled the contestants in about how badly they came off, all expressed regret about the controversial statements that cast a cloud over the season.
"I do apologize," said Zimmerman. "That's not me. Sometimes things were said out of anger. I'm Italian, and I have a big heart. I'm used to being around a lot of different races."
The "I'm Italian" excuse sounded a little too similar to Gries' explanation that she used slurs because she's from Texas. Residents of Italy and Texas can't be too happy with these ladies right now! But when asked how she'd do it differently if she had it to do again, Zimmerman did say: "Probably keep my big mouth shut."
Did you hear that, potential contestants of Big Brother 16?
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.