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UK reacts to Shilpa's racial row on British reality TV

While talking about Shilpa's row in Celebrity Big Brother, UK culture secretary Tessa Jowell says she is disgusted with 'racism being presented as entertainment'.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2007 01:30 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The raging controversy over alleged racist attack against Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on a reality TV show continued on Friday with Britain's culture secretary, Tessa Jowell saying she is disgusted with "racism being presented as entertainment".

She also cautioned that the Channel could lose millions in state funding over the row. Her comments came as Shetty on Thursday night went back on her charge that she was the victim of racism.

Jowell said her personal view was that the alleged racism in 'Celebrity Big Brother' show had caused "enormous offence", but said it was up to Channel 4 to judge whether it should make an apology.

The Secretary of State also stressed that she would not be interfering in the regulatory process as Ofcom, the media watchdog, responds to the flood of complaints about the show - now at a record 33,000 and still growing - and rules on whether Channel 4 has breached its programme code.

"My personal view is that this has caused enormous offence not only abroad but to the Indian community here," Jowell said before she gave a speech about the BBC licence fee settlement at the Oxford Media Convention.

"I'm disgusted that it has got to this position at all. I think this is racism being presented as entertainment." Asked whether Channel 4 should apologise for the incidents, Jowell responded: "This is a judgment for Channel 4. I don't think that is something they should feel pressured into doing because I, as secretary of state, have expressed a view."

First Published: Jan 21, 2007 01:06 IST