Fans and Big Brother alums alike are specifically upset with the season 24 cast for their treatment of Taylor Hale, a 27-year-old beauty queen who's Black. Among those who have voiced their support for Taylor on social media are former contestants Tiffany Mitchell, Janelle Pierzina, Rachel Reilly and season 23 winner Xavier Prather, who said in-part, "Members of the Black community (especially Black women) and other people of color stand no chance in the Big Brother House due to the perpetuation of micro-aggressions and unconscious biases which plague our society."
Now, Big Brother host Julie Chen is weighing in on matter.
"Micro aggressions are real and they happen," Julie said during an exclusive interview with E! News' Daily Pop on July 14. "I don't think most people, when they are committing it, that they are even aware of what they're doing."
This puts the Big Brother contestants—who are being monitored by cameras 24/7—in a difficult position, Julie said: "I think that with the live feeds it is easy. I think what we need to do is ask ourselves, 'Who am I? Who is anyone to judge somebody else?'"
She continued, "We haven't walked in their shoes. We haven't been in the Big Brother house. We haven't been in that pressure cooker situation. And a lot of times when someone is feeling insecure about themselves, or seeing another individual as a threat to their game, that's when you see classic Big Brother 'I'm going to trash talk someone behind his or her back.'"
Julie didn't name drop any specific houseguests on the CBS show or make it explicitly clear that she was talking about the situation involving Taylor. However, the host did reveal that she herself has been subject to racism in the past, especially at the beginning of her career. Julie said that one executive at a Dayton, Ohio station even told her that she couldn't fill a morning anchor role because, as she recalled, the area didn't "have a big Asian community, [so] how can people relate to you?"
"Again, people don't realize," Julie added, "and when they're saying something to your face, the intention isn't to make you feel bad or to be aggressive."
That's not to say that everyone has pure intentions, though. Julie said she believes the Big Brother house "brings out someone's true colors."
"It also brings out colors they never even knew existed inside them," Julie added. "It's like, you talk a big game before you go into the Big Brother house and then you're in it and then you have to deal with these personalities."
As a result, there's no telling whether someone's "going to bring out the best in you, or the worst," Julie said. "It's tough." With that, she encouraged fans to "practice some compassion and some mercy and some grace to one another."
"I hope people see that we may not all look alike, sound alike, talk alike," Julie continued, "but I guarantee you there is way more that unites us than divides us."
Hear more from Julie Chen in the above Daily Pop interview.
Big Brother airs Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays on CBS.