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Mick Joest

How Will Big Brother Season 25 Respond To First Controversy After Houseguest Caught Using Racial Slur?

Big Brother Season 25 cast

Update: After this story was published, Big Brother journalist Sharon Tharp posted an official statement from producers, explaining that Luke Valentine has been expelled from the game. His departure will be referenced during Thursday's episode. The controversy, as well as the live feed footage of the incident, can all be found below.

Big Brother Season 25 hasn't progressed through the first week of the game, and it's already dealing with a controversy tied to racism. This morning, avid viewers were met with some troubling clips of Luke Valentine casually using a racial slur in front of three other Houseguests. Now, the question is how the show will respond, as people continue to react to thee controversial clips. 

At the time the slur was said, Luke Valentine was in the Have-Not Room, conversing with Hisam Goueli, Cory Wurtenberger,and Jared Fields. Luke was talking about the Have-Not Room when he used the "n-word" while speaking to Cory. Valentine then proceeded to correct himself and saying, "Dude." Check out the clip, which was captured by live feeders using their Paramount+ subscription

As seen above, Cory and Hisam were visibly shocked after Luke made the comment. Cory told Luke he should "go to bed," and Hisam left without saying anything. Jared, who was laying on the bed of the Have-Not room, had a brief conversation with Luke, during which the latter apologized for what he said:

Jared laughed it off, and Luke went to bed without incident. However, as a reminder, this is Big Brother. While jared's actions in the moment might've been genuine, Houseguests are always incentivized to be nice and let anything negative roll off their back in the game. After all, when one makes waves in the house early on, that makes them an easy target. So that fact could've theoretically factored into Jared's response. With that said, one has to think that the fallout from this isn't over, especially with more viewers taking to social media to react.

How Might Other Houseguests Respond To Luke's Use Of A Slur?

The moment happened during the early hours of the morning, meaning there wasn't much of an opportunity for anyone involved to spread the word about the incident. Once word spreads, however, it'll be interesting to see how others react and feel about what went down. Even if Jared said he didn't care in the moment, it isn't hard to imagine that one of the other 15 Houseguests might feel differently and be open about their thoughts. 

From a competition perspective, Luke is currently safe from being evicted by his fellow Houseguests. Reilly Smedley's HOH is effectively over, and Hisam's decision not to use the veto means that Felicia Johnson and Kirsten Elwin can't be removed from the block. No one can evict Luke this week unless there's some unknown twist that changes the rules of the game. 

How Will Big Brother Respond To Luke's Use Of A Racial Slur, Based On Past Situations?

Big Brother has a long history of controversy tied to racism and, after dealing with quite a bit of backlash in Season 21, producers made earnest attempts to rectify those past situations. Those efforts started with the acknowledgment of the inherent advantage that comes with a white majority household. The powers that be ultimately sought to cast more diverse groups for seasons, to help create a more neutral atmosphere for the game. 

In Season 24, Houseguest Kyle Capener was evicted after everyone learned of his theory that all the minority Houseguests were aligned to form "The Cookout 2.0" The nickname was a reference to Season 23's alliance "The Cookout," an alliance of Black Houseguests that resulted in the flagship game's first Black winner, Xavier Prather. Kyle had no concrete evidence to back up his thinking but suggested the white Houseguests band together to stop it. Kyle later apologized for his actions and remained in the game despite the incident. 

That situation, while offensive, isn't quite the same as using a racial slur, of course. Season 21 saw host Julie Chen Moonves make Jack Matthews answer for his controversial use of racist language in the house. Also, shortly before winning, Jackson Michie was asked if his game moves were racist. Neither man was removed from the game as a result of these actions. 

The same is true of Season 15's Aaryn Gries, whose situation may be the most notable example of racism in BB. Aaryn and others made inappropriate comments so frequently that the show had to run a disclaimer ahead of episodes, and some Houseguests were fired from their jobs after the show. Whether that happens with Luke Valentine remains to be seen.

In the past, Big Brother has not removed Houseguests for racism, but there's certainly a question of how it should be handled in this new era. Fans will likely be watching to see how CBS responds and learn what action, if any, will be taken to acknowledge this latest unfortunate moment in the house. 

Big Brother Season 25 airs on CBS on Sundays and Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET as well as on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. For more live-feed footage, stream Big Brother online with Paramount+ or Pluto TV. 

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