(L-R) Big Brother Winner, Andy Herren; Host, Julie Chen, and GinaMarie Zimmerman (credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS)

(L-R) Big Brother Winner, Andy Herren; Host, Julie Chen, and GinaMarie Zimmerman (credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS)

(CBS NEWS) – Season 15 of “Big Brother” came to a close Wednesday night, with contestant Andy Herren taking home a $500,000 cash prize.

Herren was crowned the first place winner of the most controversial season yet in the show’s history.

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Several of the contestants came under heavy criticism from viewers this summer, with some of the houseguests accused of repeatedly making racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks.


The season finale centered on three contestants competing for the final Head of Household: Herren, GinaMarie Zimmerman and Spencer Clawson.

Clawson’s employer, Union Pacific, distanced itself from him earlier in the season after he delivered several inflammatory comments. A police investigation was even launched after Clawson made a child-pornography joke.

He came in third place during the final challenge, and seemed to be as-yet unaware of the negative public response to his behavior when questioned about it by host Julie Chen.

Zimmerman, who was previously fired from her job as a pageant coordinator for her rhetoric, finished in second place, receiving a prize of $50,000.

But it was Herren, an openly gay contestant who endured repeated remarks from his housemates, who was able to convince members of the Jury that he deserved to be this season’s winner.

Despite the fact that he had previously helped to evict at least half of the Jury members from the house, Herren convinced them to crown him the winner by pointing out his loyalty to Zimmerman throughout the season. He never once stabbed her in the back, even when she emerged as his top competitor.

Elissa Slater was another contestant who had a good night. She won America’s Favorite and was awarded $25,000.

Read more at CBSNews.com

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