Friday, January 19, 2007

Racist bullying in Reality

Allegations of racial taunts against Bollywood filmstar Shilpa Shetty, 31, in the UK Channel 4 Reality show "Celebrity Big Brother" is casting a shadow over Chancellor Gordon Brown's visit to India.

Shetty broke down in tears on Monday after expressing concerns that Jade, a fellow participant had made racial comments about her skin colour, accent and cooking.

A fierce controversy against racism made headlines across the media in India, with thousands writing in to Channel 4 protesting the alleged insults hurled on the Indian star who is making $680,000 for her part in the show.

In an abrupt about turn Shilp Shetty has changed her story on Thursday. Here is what she said, ”I think it is clash of cultures and I don't feel there was any racial discrimination from Jade's end," Shilpa Shetty told the newsmen.

She also went on record to say that people say things in a fit of anger and I stand corrected so, I don't want people to think and feel that way and I continue to feel that way.

So while the viewership of the reality TV show saw an impressive jump in the UK, the incident has left the people back home a little puzzled. Cultural differences and racism are two different things.

The controversy raises the question of whether Big Brother is simply using provocative behaviour to rouse viewer curiosity? And whether Shetty is just playing along to boost the viewership ratings?

Shilpa Shetty knew what she was getting into, when she went on the show. Nothing good can come out of such mean tactics to improve ratings if in fact the whole controversy was caused for that purpose. What kind of entertainment value does such foul-mouthing provide?

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