Big Brother evicts racist for insulting Shilpa Shetty

The British public voted to evict Jade Goody from the British reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother," which has attracted international criticism for broadcasting alleged racist incidents.

Britons over the last week have filed 38,000 complaints with Britain's television regulator alleging that Indian actress Shilpa Shetty had been subjected to racial abuse from fellow contestants Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd, both minor British celebrities.

The show held its scheduled public vote Friday, with both Shetty and Goody nominated for eviction from the "Big Brother" house, where contestants live together, cut off from access to the outside.

Neither Shetty nor Goody were fully aware of the furor the show had caused.

After annoucing Goody's eviction live on Channel 4, show host Davina McCall said: "Jade obviously has no idea that for the last week she has been at the center of an international crisis."

The alleged racist incidents sparked an outcry in both Britain and India, where protesters earlier this week burned an effigy said to depict the show's producers. Newspapers have played the debate on front pages, politicians have expressed concern about the alleged racism.

Under public pressure to deal with the issue, Channel 4 said producers had spoken to Goody and Lloyd. Goody, apparently after hearing that some viewers were offended by her remarks to Shetty, broke into tears and said she was "petrified" by the idea of facing the public "because people think I'm a racist."

"I've never been more scared in my life," Goody said on the show before eviction.

On Friday night, producers banned the public from outside the "Big Brother" house, where previously fans have greeted whomever is forced to leave the show.

Goody, who became a celebrity after enduring much abuse herself in an earlier edition of "Big Brother," approached Shetty on Thursday night and apologized, but said she was no racist.

Following her eviction, Goody appeared to be stunned when McCall showed her edited footage of the show and the international reaction it had received.

"Oh my God," Goody said. "That's pretty intense. That explains a lot of things... it's nasty."

She reiterated, however, that she was no racist. "I'm not a racist person, but looking at that film I can see why it's had the impact it has had."

The show has been no stranger to controversy since it was first broadcast in Britain in 2000.

In 2004, police were called when drunk contestants nearly came to blows, and in 2005 the spectacular arrival of actor Sylvester Stallone's mother, Jackie, led to his ex-wife Brigitte Nielsen - also a contestant that season - breaking down in tears.

On Wednesday, a major sponsor suspended its advertising deal with "Celebrity Big Brother"; a chain of perfume shops pulled the fragrance "Shh..", endorsed by Goody, from its shelves; and an insurance company canceled its contract with Lloyd.

Britain's Treasury chief Gordon Brown, who has been questioned on "Big Brother" every day on his current visit to India, said he would not tell Britons how to vote on the eviction - but dropped some heavy hints.

"It's for people to decide for themselves how to vote, but I think a vote for Britain is a vote for tolerance," Brown told Sky News.

"I think when people are voting, they do know that when they have complained about certain things that have happened, they are saying we are a country of tolerance and fairness," Brown said.

Broadcasting regulator OFCOM said the number of complaints it received over "Celebrity Big Brother" - about 38,000 - was a record for a British television program.

"What we are seeing is a noxious brew of old-fashioned class conflict, straightforward bullying, ignorance and quite vicious racial bigotry," said Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. "It is outrageous, and it is unpleasant."

It was also moving up in the ratings, with 5.7 million viewers tuning in Thursday night. The program was also heavily covered in newspapers and news broadcasts, the AP reports.

The Indian Tourism Office saw an opportunity to drum up a little business from the controversy, placing advertisements in several British newspapers on Friday.

"Dear Jade Goody," the ad said. "Once your current commitments are over, may we invite you to experience the healing nature of India.

"Being one of the world's oldest civilizations, our land is one where the ancient and the modern coexist and a multitude of religions live in harmony."

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