"The Asian ones hit me the most," Chen admits
A day after "Big Brother" aired controversial statements with racist and homophobic overtones made by the show's contestants, the show's host, Julie Chen, declared herself "stung" by the comments, saying, "I took it personally."
She added that she was most struck by the anti-Asian comments, directed toward a contestant named Helen.
Chen used her other CBS show, "The Talk," as a platform to discuss the comments made by contestant Aaryn Gries.
"When I first found out that Aaryn, who's a 22-year-old girl, made anti-gay, anti-black and anti-Asian comments, I have to be honest — the Asian ones hit me the most," Chen told her "Talk" cohorts. "I heard her describe Asians as squinty-eyed, and 'Go make a bowl of rice.' She said that about Helen, who is Chinese … It stung. I took it personally.
Cheng went on to say that Gries' comments — initially captured on the "Big Brother" live feed but addressed on Sunday night's broadcast — reminded her of her own experiences with racism as a child.
"The really sad part was it took me back to the '70s when I was growing up in Queens, and when I was 7 years old getting bullied, being called a chink and people pulling their eyes," Chen revealed. "And then I felt ignorant. I felt like, wow, there's still people who live in this country who feel that way and act that way? Yes, there is. And afterwards it just made me sad, because she's 22 — she's college-educated."
Chen's "Talk" colleague Sara Gilbert noted that she's "happy" the comments made it onto the broadcast.
"I'm happy that CBS and 'Big Brother' aired the comments because I feel like it's good for people to see it, and let those people deal with the consequences when they get out of the house," Gilbert said.
While Gries' fate on "Big Brother" remains to be seen, as does her post-reality TV career, she's already suffered some blowback from her ill-chosen words. Gries' talent agency fired her after the comments made headlines last week.
A second contestant on the current season of "Big Brother," GinaMarie Zimmerman, was also let go from her job at the East Coast USA Pageant, after she was accused of hurling the N word.
Watch Chen discuss Gries' comments below: