Big Brother in new racism row over Indian

July 10, 2009

London, Britain’s broadcasting regulator is to investigate complaints that an Indian student appearing on the British reality television show Big Brother was racially bullied.

The programme, shown on Channel 4 network, brings together complete strangers in front of live television cameras 24 hours of the day while viewers get to ‘evict’ inmates one by one before choosing an eventual winner.

Newspapers said Friday Britain’s broadcasting regulator Ofcom had received 290 complaints, mostly relating to an incident involving 25-year-old Indian student Sree Dasari and 35-year-old British window fitter Marcus Akin.

In the incident, that took place last week, Akin reportedly mocked Dasari by imitating his strong Indian accent. Akin also threatened the Indian, for which he received a formal warning.

Sree was evicted by viewers the following day.

A spokesman for the show said: “Big Brother intervened and took immediate and appropriate action relating to the argument between Sree and Marcus.

“Marcus received a formal warning following his use of threatening language during his argument with Sree.

“Threatening language and behaviour is not acceptable in the Big Brother house. Big Brother monitors the welfare, language and behaviour of housemates at all times and will continue to monitor this situation.”

This is the second reported racist row involving an Indian appearing on the show.

In 2007, sponsors pulled out of the celebrity version of the show over the treatment of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty by the late reality tv star Jade Goody, model Danielle Lloyd and pop singer Jo O’Meara.

The three mocked Shetty’s accent, while Goody called her ‘Shilpa Poppadum’, causing an international outcry and prompting the programme’s makers to expel Goody.

At the time, Ofcom found Channel 4 guilty of “serious editorial misjudgment” over its handling of the row, and said it broke Britain’s broadcasting code.





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