Producers of reality television show Celebrity Big Brother are investigating allegations of racism, after UK’s media watchdog Ofcom received more than 200 complaints about alleged racism towards Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty by other contestants.
Shetty is one of nine celebrities whose activities are being filmed after they were locked in a house together on January two. The viewers have complained that Shetty was being targeted by some housemates because she is Indian.
The flurry of complaints was triggered by a row shortly after Friday’s live eviction show, where the Bollywood star was called a “dog” by contestant Danielle Lloyd.
“We are investigating these complaints and if we found there was a case to be had we would speak to Channel 4 about it,” an Ofcom spokeswoman said. Channel 4 said: “We do not tolerate bullying or racism in any form.” Big Brother is Channel 4’s most popular programme.
Viewers believe that Shetty has been targeted by Jade Goody, a previous contestant on the non-celebrity version of the show, whose gaffe-prone persona turned her into a tabloid star.
Goody has said Shetty “makes my skin crawl”, while Danielle Lloyd, a former beauty queen and paticipant, has called her “a dog.” Jo O’Meara, another contestant, refused to eat a chicken roasted by Shetty because she claimed it was too spicy and undercooked, prompting Shetty to burst in to tears.
Jackson Five star Jermaine Jackson has consoled Shetty by quoting his brother Michael’s hit Man in The Mirror. “They need to look in the mirror before they can make that charge,” he told her.