The Shilpa Shetty Big Brother fracas and video
The last day or two the Indian media in India has been full of stories of racial abuse against our very own Shilpa Shetty in the reality show Big Brother. She is believed to have been called a ‘dog’, and there have been refusals to pronounce her name correctly. She has been repeatedly referred to as ‘Indian’ and also as a ‘bloody Paki’. All this has reduced her to tears. In fact, more than 10,000 complaints have been made over the treatment meted out to her by her housemates, the other contestants of the show, including Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara. An article in the Scotsman states:
“The media watchdog Ofcom said it had received a record 7,600 calls and e-mails by the end of yesterday (16th) about the treatment of Shetty. (Now gone up to over 39,000). A further 2,000 viewers contacted Channel 4 to voice their dismay. British Asians posted messages on websites saying they were appalled by the programme.”
All this has created a furore in Britain as well as in India. Today, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in India has held a meeting to discuss this thorny issue, an issue which has taken a political tone. A furious debate is on to discuss whether the racism that Shilpa is facing reflects the attitude of British society as a whole. Some say it is not racism, but simply bullying. There is another person there of African origin inside the Big Brother house and he is not facing any racism.
Well, jealousy could be a factor because Shilpa is more successful and more beautiful than the women in there. Even then, if she was a white and beautiful and successful, say Jennifer Aniston, would she have been treated this way? Obviously not – those bullies would have been worshipping at Jennifer’s feet.
My daughter feels that brown people are the ones who the whites dislike, not black. Black people according to her are more accepted…well, that’s another story, and at this moment one can only say that one doesn’t know all the answers. It is however clear that Shilpa is far more refined and classy than her housemates.
What is scary is that there are people who are thinking of retaliating. A TOI article says that:
“Police in Hertfordshire, north of London, said two emailed threats had been sent to the show’s broadcaster Channel 4. They contain unspecified threats against a number of the housemates. Police are currently looking in to the e-mails…”
To add fuel to the controversy, the Guardian newspaper is claiming (according to a Times News Channel report) that this is all staged, that Shilpa is acting on a script.
If you want to see for yourself what Shilpa is going through take a look at this latest video which has been posted at:
21st Jan: Jade Goody has been evicted from the show. She was reportedly taken out very quietly. News reports are available at: Telegraph, U.K. According to the reports Jade Goody is now fearing for her life because of threats against her. There have also been financial consequences:
“The Perfume Store said it had stopped selling the perfume “Shh…”, which is marketed under Goody’s name, at its 150 stores. Act Against Bullying, the charity Goody supports, removed her photograph from its website. The model Danielle Lloyd, the other girl who bullied Shilpa and who is still in the house has lost a six-figure contract to promote the motorcycle insurance firm Bennetts, which also took all promotional pictures of her from its internet site.”
29th Jan: A lot of things have happened since I wrote the above. Shilpa Shetty has won Big Brother (read post) and plenty of lucrative press and television interviews as well as contracts are waiting for her. Well, the girl has struck a pot of gold. She deserves every bit of the glory because she conducted herself with dignity throughout the whole episode. On the other hand, the invitation by the Tourism department of the Indian Government to Jade Goody to visit India is the stupidest thing that has happened. Why should the government get uptight because one woman insults India and Indians? It shows how insecure we all are. Anyway, I believe the government is already regretting it and has taken the invite back…!
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