Big Brother bullying not racist, claims C4

// 25 May 2007

Channel 4 is being forced to air three apologies for its handling of the racist bullying that took place on celebrity Big Brother, The Guardian reports.

Aside from the appalling fact that the apologies will be shown before episodes of the new season of the plebeian version of the show, meaning it hasn’t slipped quietly away to die, the most reprehensible element of this whole story is Channel 4’s defence of its behaviour.

The Guardian carries a list of the complaints lodged against the broadcaster, along with a summary of its response.

Here’s an example:

Complaint: Following the row, Lloyd says Shetty should “fuck off home” and can’t speak English properly.

Defence: It “appeared unlikely” she meant it literally and was not motivated by racism. She was challenged.

Verdict: In breach – should have put the issues to Lloyd more explicitly and made it clear to viewers that racism would not be tolerated.

So, Channel 4 actually tried to say that it wasn’t racist to tell Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty to “fuck off home”. Unbelievable. It gets better.

Complaint: Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara, discuss an under-cooked chicken, inferring that was why people in India were thin and discussed whether they ate with their fingers.

Defence: Comments should be viewed in context and the pair were right to be concerned about food hygiene.

Verdict: In breach – other events in the house should have alerted C4 to the potential for offence.

Yep, they were just concerned about good hygiene.

I’m amazed that The Guardian went with the headline ‘C4 to air Big Brother apologies’, not ‘C4 defends racism’.

Photo by Vishvarupa, shared under a Creative Commons license

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