The UK’s popular reality show ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ has come under considerable fire in India and also the British Asians of Indian origin in UK. They have reacted very strongly to the racial slur meted out to the Indian Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty by her co-contestant in the show.
Shilpa Shetty entered the reality show ‘Big Brother’ with much hype and received wide coverage in Indian press. Thanks to similar version of the show’ Big Boss’ aired in India, which has also gained popularity.
Shilpa Shetty has come under severe personal attack amounting to racial abuse by her co-mates. She has been hurled names like ‘Dog’ and ‘Paki’ by other participants. Denielle, one of the contestants, refused to touch the chicken made by Shilpa. ‘How do Indian eat with their fingers? You don’t know where their fingers have been’ was the comment of others.
The UK viewers alleged that it all began when Jackley unable to pronounce Shilpa’s name correctly started calling her ‘ Sipla’ and later sarcastically termed her name ‘ Princess’ and ‘The Indian’. Initially it was felt that Shilpa was targeted because she was being paid more $680,000 as against $ 610,000 paid to other participants. More over Shilpa gained instant popularity with the media and viewers.
Shilpa Shetty not able to bear any more of insults finally broke down in one of the shows. This had greatly upset the UK Asian viewers seeing that the Indian celebrity Shilpa was being hounded and subjected to worst racial abuse by her inmates. They inundated the channel 4 with about 2000 protest letters. Their spokesman said ‘We confirm that housemate Jack Tweed used foul word, which we bleeped out’.
Sunanda, Shilpa’s mother said ‘ I hope Shilpa will handle the situation. It is a game and there is life beyond that’.
It is said that the British parliament had sought an apology from the channel for racist remarks. Today evening talking to the local television channels, the Indian foreign affairs spokesperson Anand Sharma reacted by saying ‘This kind of racial discriminations cannot be tolerated in any civilized country ‘. The foreign ministry had contacted UK High Commission in Delhi. It has asked Briton to take action against Shilpa Shetty racism issue.
Meanwhile in Patna people came out in the streets protesting against Channel 4 by waving placards and buring effigy. All political parties in India has condenmed the racial discrimination shown to Shilpa. The film fraternity reaction was lukewarm with some them saying that it is the game being played out there and everything is part of the show.
Shilpa represent the Indian face in the ‘Big Brother’ and is indirectly a brand ambassador of India. Such racial slur heaped on her also adds insult to the average Indian.