Britain's "Celebrity Big Brother" reality show has sparked an international crisis after allegations that several contestants have repeatedly made racist comments about another housemate, Indian Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty (left).
The chief tormentor and bully has been Jade Goody, (below) a despicable, disgusting, pathetic, low-class, sorry excuse for a human being. Jade, a previous Big Brother contestant who is only famous for being famous, has attacked Shilpa for several days now. On Thursday, she referred to Shilpa's country as a slum and called her "Shilpa Poppadom" (a poppadom is a tortilla-like Indian bread).
Jade isn't alone. Her clique of co-conspirators include a top-heavy beauty queen Danielle Lloyd (a former Miss Britain until she was fired for shagging a judge) and Jo O'Meara, a hideous singer and former band member with the bubblegum pop group S Club 7. The three Mean Girls continuously mock Shilpa's accent. On Monday, the three refused to eat a chicken dinner that Shilpa had prepared. "They eat with their hands in India, don't they -- or is that China?" Lloyd asked before adding, "You don't know where her hands have been." Lloyd refused to let the issue drop, claiming that all Indians are skinny and sick because of unhygienic cooking practices. Jade's mother Jackie, who was also a contestant before she was voted off the show last week, refused to call Shilpa by her name, instead referring to her as "The Indian."
The incident has dominated British newspapers and television since
Monday when the controversy first broke out. British Prime Minister
Tony Blair was forced to speak out about the issue in Parliament on
Wednesday. And his heir apparent, Chancellor Gordon Brown, had to
defend Britain's racial tolerance while he was on an overseas trip this
week...in INDIA, where Shilpa's fans have taken to the streets in protest and burned effigies of Big Brother producers!
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. On Wednesday, Goody was fired as a spokeswoman for an anti-bullying charity in Britain. Her celebrity fragrance was pulled off the shelves. On Thursday, one of the show's largest sponsors, Carphone Warehouse, pulled all of its advertising from the air, saying it did not want to be associated with claims of racism. A UK watchdog organization that monitors television has received more than 20,000 complaints about Jade and Co.'s treatment of Shilpa.
Channel 4, the UK network which airs Big Brother, has been shockingly silent during this entire fiasco. They have refused to comment on the issue and have buried their heads in the sand. The housemates have no idea how this entire issue is playing out in the world because they do not have access to television, radio, newspapers or other media.
For her part, Shilpa has spent most of the past few days crying herself to sleep or commiserating with her few friends in the house, Jermaine Jackson (of the Jackson 5 fame) and Dirk Benedict (former star of "The A-Team" and the 70's version of "Battlestar Galactica").
The Big Brother house is now split by the controversy. Yesterday, the remaining contestants secretly nominated the next housemate for eviction. No surprise, the two nominees this week are Jade and Shilpa. The public will vote on which contestant to kick off the show. The loser will be announced late Friday. Judging by the media coverage and public outcry, it looks like Jade's days are numbered.
It's not all bad. Viewership on Big Brother has jumped by more than 1 million since the controversy began earlier this week. And British bookmakers are giving Shilpa 1-1 odds to win the whole thing based on the public sympathy for her predicament. And Channel 4 has agreed to donate all the profits of this week's vote to charity (viewers pay 50 pence, about $.97 cents to vote).
Here's hoping Jade crawls back under the rock where she came from.