By Lynette Rice
January 15, 2014 at 06:07 PM EST

CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler had a few choice words today for the young women who generated negative headlines during last summer’s edition of Big Brother. Echoing what CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves told reporters last summer, Tassler said she was “mortified” by racist and homophobic comments made by houseguests like Aaryn Gries.

The timing of Gries behavior and that of GinaMarie Zimmerman was equally abhorrent, Tassler said. “We have to look at last summer as a confluence of events with what was going with Treyvon Martin and Paula Deen. It was an extraordinary series of events that were dominating the news waves.

“This is the part where we have to remind ourselves that [Big Brother] is a social experiment,” she continued. “You are taking people from very disparate walks of life, and confining them in a house for a finite period of time. I sit in those auditions, those interviews. When you are talking to people, you get one perspective on their personality. You ask very probing questions, and you develop an opinion about that person. We do the requisite background checks, which we are obviously upgrading with more and more resources. At the end of the day we felt the producers handled it responsibility. They dealt with it as well as they could.”