The past week in the Big Brother house has been one for the books — for all of the worst reasons, unfortunately.
During Wednesday’s episode of the CBS reality staple, a long-brewing controversy involving Season 24 houseguest Kyle Capener came to a head, as Kyle was forced to reckon with racist remarks he’s made about his fellow players. (Update: After you’ve caught up on Wednesday’s happenings below, read our recap of Thursday’s live hour to find out how Kyle’s week concluded.)
First, some context: Those who regularly watch Big Brother‘s 24/7 live feeds, or keep up with the house’s daily events on Twitter, have heard Kyle make problematic and off-putting comments all summer — for instance, telling Turner that his bucket hat made him look like a Filipino rice farmer, or his over-the-top mocking of Indy’s Brazilian accent. But his rhetoric became especially concerning during Week 5, when he told then-Head of Household Michael that he was concerned about the house’s BIPOC players forming an alliance. During that conversation, he repeatedly cited last summer’s Cookout alliance — made up of only Black houseguests — as reason to suspect that Season 24’s minority contestants might begin working together. And though Kyle never outright said that the house’s white contestants ought to team up against the players of color, that suggestion was heavily implied — particularly when Kyle referred to himself and other white players as the “silent majority” of their current Leftovers alliance.
Kyle has continued to make comments of that nature, including calling Taylor Hale, Joseph Abdin and Monte Taylor — all players of color — a variation of “loud,” “the alpha personalities,” “bullies” and, in Joseph’s case, “scum.” Across social media, he’s earned himself the moniker “KKKyle.” And because most of CBS’ primetime Big Brother broadcasts have excluded Kyle’s concerning comments (especially the words “silent majority”), BB fans have frequently gotten the hashtag #StopProtectingKyle trending on Twitter in an effort to call out the network; the Aug. 18 episode did finally acknowledge the topic, dedicating a full segment to Kyle’s statements, as well as Michael Bruner and Brittany Hoopes’ discomfort with his insinuations. (This is, of course, the second time that racism has come to the forefront of Season 24, after Taylor was on the receiving end of merciless bullying and microaggressions in the summer’s early weeks.)
On Wednesday, after HOH Turner nominates Brittany and Taylor for eviction, Brittany and Michael strategize on how they might escape the week unscathed — and though Michael insists that he never planned to use Kyle’s previous statements as “leverage within the game,” that’s essentially what he and Brittany do after Michael wins the Power of Veto, leaving open the possibility that Turner could name Kyle as a replacement nominee once Brittany or Taylor come off the block.
Michael and Brittany opt to first speak with Taylor and Monte, not only to let them in on what Kyle’s been saying, but to make sure they’d be comfortable with Michael and Brittany ultimately divulging Kyle’s comments to Turner, in the hopes of getting Kyle nominated. During that conversation, Big Brother flashes back to a second chat that Kyle had had with Michael and Brittany on the hammock outside, in which he said, “I’m sorry, but after The Cookout uniting under one common cause, which was race… it has to play into my thought process moving forward in the game.” Monte and Taylor are both taken aback at what Brittany and Michael are telling them — Taylor even notes that she’s shaking — but they ultimately leave it to Michael and Brittany to make the call on whether Turner hears this damning information.
The final two acts of Wednesday’s hour are an extremely condensed version of what happened in the BB house on Sunday — these conversations went on for hours, in reality — but many of the crucial moments are there: Brittany and Michael reveal Kyle’s comments to Alyssa, who says she wants nothing to do with an alliance division based on race. The pair brings it to Turner, as well, who remarks that the situation at hand is “super uncomfy” (the wisest of words!) and insists he wants no association with what Kyle is pitching.
Then, having rightfully picked up on a weird vibe in the house, Kyle asks Alyssa if she knows what’s up, and she shares some of the allegations against him. “A race thing is what they’re pitching that I was saying?” Kyle asks. “Alyssa, this is bigger than game. This will ruin my life if this is what they’re pitching… At what point have I ever made this a race thing? You understand, this is life-changing.”
Kyle attempts to confront Brittany and Michael in the HOH bedroom, but Turner asks if they can have their privacy for a few more minutes. Kyle then heads into the Diary Room, telling the camera that “even the hint of race being a factor is the most concerning thing for me,” and he eventually breaks down in tears. Turner, meanwhile, says in the Diary Room that he certainly believes what Michael and Brittany are telling him, but he finds it a bit too convenient that they held onto this information until one of their friends was in real danger of getting evicted.
Much, much more went down in the house after Brittany and Michael opened the floodgates, but it won’t be until Thursday’s episode that we get to see “the powerful house meeting where everything comes to a crossroads.” Until then, drop your thoughts on Wednesday’s installment in a comment below.