Julie Chen got choked up today on The Talk as she confirmed that Audrey Middleton will be the first transgender contestant to compete on Big Brother.
During interviews with reporters at yesterday’s press day, Audrey talked about her work as a digital media consultant, and life in her quaint hometown of Villa Rica, GA, but did not reveal during interviews that she was a transgender woman.
It was TMZ that broke the news midday. According to the site, Audrey would reveal that she was a transgender woman during the Big Brother premiere on Wednesday, and that she planned to use the show as a “showcase similar to what Caitlyn Jenner has been doing.”
Julie claims that the information about Audrey “leaked early.” Actually, it’s just as possible that CBS itself leaked the tidbit to TMZ in order to drum up some viral publicity before the show premieres next week. However, the Los Angeles Times reports that as soon as the TMZ story broke yesterday, Audrey was pulled out of the press junket.
Read More: Meet the Big Brother Houseguests
During The Talk segment, a clip from the Jeff Schroeder interview that streamed on CBS All Access aired. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, except that Audrey was maybe a little arrogant thinking of herself as a “special snowflake.”
“I think I’m bringing in a very versatile perspective, of a character that hasn’t been brought before.” said Audrey. When asked whether she thinks she’ll be a hero or a villain, Audrey answered, “I think there’s a chance I could be a misunderstood hero. But I’m going to be a hero.”
After each of the panelists weighed in, Julie ended the segment, asking viewers to be understanding. “I hope you watch with compassion and an open mind to learn something about a community that you many not…” and here is where Julie had to stop to compose herself. She continued, “…that you may not be familiar with.”
The problem won’t be viewers of course. While there will certainly be haters, I expect America will receive Audrey with an open mind, just as they did when Caitlynn (formerly Bruce) Jenner came out on ABC’s 20/20 and in the pages of Vanity Fair. It’s the houseguests that give me pause. Two seasons ago, the house was FILLED with racist, misogynist and homophobic behavior from several of the houseguests. While CBS sanitized the worst of it for the series, those watching the live feeds saw some pretty ugly and bullying behavior.
Personally, I’m not in this to watch a’holes mistreat or abuse a transgender houseguest. Although, if you’ve seen any of Aubrey’s interviews, she comes across as a pretty tough cookie. I’m sure she’s had to develop a thick skin over the years. Bigots may just find their asses kicked. Audrey’s demeanor is tough to the point of being kind of cold. It’s possible she may be disliked and booted early for reasons other than her gender identity.
Watch The Talk segment here:
Here’s Audrey’s FULL interview with Jeff
CBS had released a statement on Aubrey yesterday:
Audrey Middleton is a Big Brother super fan who applied online, like many other hopeful Houseguests, and was open about her transition in the application process. It is customary for Big Brother Houseguests to share personal news inside the house, and Audrey plans to discuss her story with the houseguests in her own words during the premiere episode on Wednesday, June 24.