Listen: 'Big Brother' Star Frankie Grande Critiques Show's Casting of Gay People

Wednesday June 2, 2021

In a recent podcast interview, Frankie Grande, who starred on "Big Brother" Season 16, critiqued the long-running CBS reality show over its casting of gay people, points out.

The Broadway performer and brother to pop star Ariana Grande gave his criticisms on the May 27 episode of "Behind The Velvet Rope" in which he discussed the casting choices "Big Brother" has made when it comes to LGBTQ people — gay men especially.

"'Big Brother' has done a very good job of casting a very certain type of homosexual on that show every single season — they're the meek, conniving, kind of backseat, like scheme-y gay and they want that," said Frankie, who "truly" believes he was cast on the show in 2014 because producers "couldn't deny" that he brought " a certain level of fame" to the show.

"They were so obsessed with the fact that they were going to get a YouTuber and a personality on their show for the very first time — I was the first influencer to ever be on 'Big Brother,'" Frankie added. "They kind of let the fact that I wasn't that type of gay go."

Frankie also discussed being a physical threat on his season — having won eight challenges during his stint, finishing in fifth place — and how that strategy was different than previous out houseguests.

"I was more of a like comp beast player — like in your face, like try to beat me, like, come on, try to beat me. Like if you were going to beat me, then you have to put your money where your mouth is kind of person," Frankie said. "And I don't think that that's always been the strategy that's been employed. It wasn't the strategy that was employed by other gay people prior to me, which was interesting."

Looking back at his time on "Big Brother," Frankie said he had "given the world such a different concept of what a gay man was."

"Many people around the world were telling me, like, 'Wow, we didn't know gay men could be like you,'" he said. "We didn't know gay men were competition beasts. We didn't know that they were aggressive, that they could stand up for themselves in situations and not just cower."

Frankie continued: "I just kind of showed the world a whole different side of the homosexual Kinsey scale. People were so receptive ... people come up to me and they're like, you know, my family accepted me as gay when I came out to them because they saw you on 'Big Brother.' And I was like, that's unbelievable."

"Big Brother" has cast a number of gay people across its 22 seasons but it wasn't until "Big Brother" Season 15 in 2013 (a year before Frankie's casting on the show) that Andy Herren became the first openly gay houseguest to win the show. From there, out contestant Kaycee Clark went on to win "Big Brother" Season 20 in 2018; and, in 2015, the show cast Audrey Middleton, the show's first out trans contestant.

"Big Brother" Season 23 premieres July 7.

Listen to Frankie Grande's interview on "Behind The Velvet Rope" below: