©RACISM AGAINST SHILPA SHETTY
LONDON: Media watchdog Ofcom is investigating Celebrity Big Brother for alleged racism by housemates against Indian Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty after receiving a deluge of complaints.
"We have had approximately 2,000 complaints of racism," said an Ofcom spokesman. "We will look into each individual complaint." Many of the complaints followed discussions on Web sites in which people were urged to contact Ofcom about the show. No comment from the Channel 4 show was immediately available on Tuesday.
Previous Big Brother winner Jade Goody, who has made a donation in the past to the anti-bullying organisation Act Against Bullying, is reported in the Daily Mirror to be among those making racist comments.
The paper also claims that former beauty queen Danielle Lloyd and ex-S Club 7 star Jo O'Meara have poked fun at Shetty. Coverage of the alleged racism slurs has also run in the Indian media and on Web sites. Asian radio station Sunrise received several calls on a phone-in on Sunday from viewers, complaining about racism against Shetty.
Jade, Danielle and Jo have been accused of bullying Shetty after forming a gang in the Celebrity Big Brother house. Last night Shetty was in tears. She said: "I'm the only one they are mean to, I don't know why. Nobody is mean to anyone else except me." Ex-Steps star Ian 'H' Watkins said in the diary room: "There's a lot of name-calling and petty things, and it's clearly schoolground behaviour -- it's almost like bullying."
Danielle said: "Every time something goes wrong, Shetty wants everyone to feel sorry for her." But on seeing Shetty crying, Jade gave her a kiss goodnight. Evicted housemate Carole Malone told BBC Asian Network that she did not believe the alleged bullying was racially motivated, but was based on jealousy.
"Shilpa is too good-looking for her own good," she said. "She's an incredibly powerful and beautiful woman." Malone added that Shetty is a "very strong woman and can handle it".