Big Brother 15 has been consumed by controversy with several houseguests spewing hateful and racist remarks every chance they get. Aaryn Gries, a 22-year-old college student/model from Texas, has been denounced by fans of the show and mainstream media, which led to the end of her modeling contract, for her ignorance.
Of course, the uncensored live feeds clearly show that Aaryn is not alone, but CBS has decided that she shall be the poster child for everything that's wrong with Big Brother 15. (Please don't think I feel sorry for her – I do not.)
Howard Overby, a 29-year-old youth counselor from Mississippi, was targeted by Aaryn (Head of Household) and Amanda Zuckerman (Queen of Bullydom) and evicted on Thursday. Immediately following his eviction, Howard told Julie Chen, enduring racism inside the Big Brother house was the "hardest thing in the world."
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Howard admitted that Big Brother debriefed him on the controversy surrounding this season.
"I did what I was supposed to do in the house and I'm at peace with that and what's to come is to come. I'm excited about the future." Howard said. "Hearing some of these responses to how the show has been perceived and some of the happenings that happened in the house and what's going on in society, that definitely put a damper on it from my heart. Even though I may be perceived on the good side of it, it still doesn't feel good to be a part of it and have people see that, but at the same time it is good for people to see on the other side because that stuff still does exist and it's very alive and well."
When asked about both Aaryn and GinaMarie being fired from their jobs, Howard said that he's not surprised. But you won't find him celebrating their downfall either. "I don't feel happy or vindicated about it," he shared. "People make mistakes, I see Aaryn as an immature kid. GinaMarie has less of an excuse, she's a bit older, but I think there is an attention-seeking thing in the house and she gets carried away in the moment. That reveals, maybe, her real thoughts."
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Howard added, "Aaryn is hardcore. She won't apologize for it. I had a couple of talks with her where we buried the hatchet. Aaryn claims she's not a racist, says a lot of these things were made up, which I just ignored because that's not what she's portraying. I wish it never happened. It's crazy to hear about the backlash."
Aaryn flipped Candice Stewart's mattress once – after a heated confrontation over sleeping arrangements – and Howard intervened. He physically carried her out of the room and talked her out of fighting with Aaryn. Some of Howard's fans think "babysitting" Candice cost him the game – does he agree? "Yes and no," said Howard. "Candice was able to retaliate in a way I couldn't and I was able to resolve things in a way she couldn't."
Howard continued, "My job ultimately became to protect her and maneuver her as far as I could. I knew she was a live wire – especially in a situation where people have the numbers. It's very intimidating. Plus, they know how to get to you and how to get a rise out of you, so that was tough too. It didn't help because I don't think a lot of those things would have been said if I was in the house by myself. I don't think Aaryn would have said to me what she said to Candice."
According to Howard, the "very young" and "immature" cast has contributed to the season's bad game decisions, as well as the controversy. He explained, BB15 is all about the strong manipulating the weak, and they use "every lie" to do it.
"That was an element of the game that I definitely was not expecting," admitted Howard. "It stopped being about competition, it was about who started the lie first and getting people to argue against each other and personally dislike each other. The people who are always starting it are keeping their hands clean and always avoid the block."
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The biggest liar of them all? Last week, Amanda told the other houseguests and production that she felt threatened by Howard, claiming he whispered "I will f–k the s–t out of you" into her ear. There's no evidence on the live feeds – and Amanda wouldn't let (her m.o.) anyone talk to Howard about it.
Howard has denied saying those exact words to Amanda, adding, "She made more of it because she never really could figure me out because she couldn't control me."
"No. No. It wasn't anything to that degree," explained Howard. "Basically, I said, 'We could hang out, you're so hot.' She had always joked with me in that fashion, even in public around other houseguests, and it was said in a joking manner. If she took it as [threatening], I will apologize over and over because I definitely didn't mean it in an offensive manner."
Howard dished on who he thinks (hopes?) will win Big Brother 15.
First – McCrae Olson – because he's a strategist and knows the game, everyone likes him, and he has Amanda doing his dirty work. Next – Helen Kim – she plays up the mom thing, she's happy-go-lucky and talks, and she covers her bases well.
Maybe – Andy Herren – he has no enemies and he's way more athletic than most expect. Last – Candice – Howard's personal preference of course; he wants to see her "persevere through all this and really turn the game upside down and have a great comeback."
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Photo credit: CBS