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The premiere of CBS’ “Big Brother” last week was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the reality competition series, whose millions of fans continue to be captivated by watching contestants isolated inside a custom-made house for the summer compete for a lucrative prize.

But that celebration is now over.

A contestant who uttered the N-word during an off-the-cuff conversation with other houseguests is being kicked off the show.

CBS issued a statement Wednesday saying that Florida-based illustrator Luke Valentine had violated the “Big Brother” code of conduct and that there was zero tolerance in the house for using a racial slur. “He has been removed from the house,” the statement read. “His departure will be addressed in Thursday night’s show.”

After making the slur, which aired on the series’ live feed — a 24-hour, multi-camera look inside the “Big Brother” compound that supplements the edited episodes on CBS — Valentine tried to backtrack, apologizing to a Black houseguest who was in the room. Valentine then said “I don’t give a f—,” as if to deflect the trouble that might follow the code of conduct violation.

The ouster is the latest in a long line of racially charged incidents that have shadowed the series since its premiere. Most recently, Black contestant Kemi Fakunle in 2019 publicly decried “degrading and threatening comments” from fellow houseguests and accused a producer of encouraging her to use a stereotypical Black accent. (The producer was reprimanded and received unconscious bias training.)

Even the recent triumphs of Black houseguests in a format traditionally won by white contestants have caused controversy. In 2021, an all-Black alliance known as the Cookout was accused of “reverse racism” by some viewers for its campaign to ensure the series’ first Black winner.

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