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Celebrity Big Bother 2007/01/19

Posted by Daddy Dave in Musings, Reviews.

This is deja vu; exactly a year ago I posted about the Celebrity Big Brother controversy. This is another year, and another big controversy. I just don’t get it; bullying and racism are on the agenda again. Matters have been raised in the House of Commons again.

Surely these celebrities would want to know beforehand what they are signing up for? It seems incredible not to imagine Channel Four and the celebrity’s agent making the offer and explaining that last year there was bullying and racism, careers ended and questions raised in Parliament. Could they not have watched tapes of the show?

As celebrities these folk should be better placed to understand TV, show-business, image and so forth. These people should know their best camera angles, and understand how it all works. They ought to know that they are role models and that they represent groups. Good grief: Jade Goody is supposed to be the 25th most influential person in the world — that’s a huge responsibility to live up to.

Last year Rodman was a supporter of the anti-real-fur group, yet did nothing to support Jodie Marsh’s objections to Pete Burns’s real fur coat. This year Jade Goody was head bully against Shilpa Shetty. Yet Jade Goody once appeared as a contestant on a television show and nominated the charity Act Against Bullying for a small donation. Jade asserts that she herself was bullied, and she has even attended an Act Against Bullying fund-raising event.

Last year Faria Alam said the show was racist, to the horror of Traci Bingham, and here we are again.

I heard on BBC Radio Four that the opinion of a lawyer is that Shilpa would have a civil case to sue Jade — and indeed even to sue Channel Four.

Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother are sponsored by The Carphone Warehouse — and they have withdrawn as a result of this scandal. The Carphone Warehouse Chief Executive Mr. Charles Dunstone said:

“Our concern has rapidly mounted about the broadcast behaviour of individuals within the Big Brother house.

“We are totally against all forms of racism and bullying and indeed this behaviour is entirely at odds with the brand values of The Carphone Warehouse. As a result, we feel that as long as this continues, we are unable to associate our brand with the programme.”

Jade’s Indian-made perfume has been withdrawn from shops, and Danielle Lloyd has lost her modelling contract. TV Watchdog, OfCom are considering fining Channel Four, and there have been a record number of complaints about the racism and bullying of Shilpa Shetty.

“Programmes on TV or radio –
“Celebrity Big Brother 2007, Channel 4 and E4

“Ofcom is currently receiving very high volumes of complaints alleging racism in Celebrity Big Brother 7. Visitors may experience delays or intermittent problems when trying to submit complaints.

“Ofcom treats complaints about such issues extremely seriously. We will evaluate the nature of the complaints before reaching any decision, which will be published in due course. You should visit our website for updates.

“Please note we will not be responding to individual complaints. A Broadcast Bulletin will be published on our website in due course. This complaint form will be used for monitoring purposes only. “

— clearly I am not alone in thinking this is about racist bullies, but there’s more …

Act Against Bullying has removed Jade’s photograph from their website and have a statement distancing themselves from her:


Channel Four were criticised for asking people to decide between Shilpa and Jade for eviction by expensive telephone voting — but they later relented and all money will now go to charity.

Until a court finds Jade guilty of racism, the media can only say and state Jade’s alleged racism. However, I do not mind coming out and saying that from what I have seen and heard, Jade, Danielle and Jo are bigoted bullies.

They seem to have failed to learn anything from Grace’s backbiting and bitching; they have constantly botched behind Shilpa’s back and pounced at every opportunity to her face. It has demoralised the house and brought Shilpa to tears on many occasions.

I watched in disbelief (and much discomfort) as Jade verbally attacked Shilpa about using up the stock cubes she (as cook) had ordered. It was one of the most horrific scenes I have ever witnessed on television! No-one should ever be talked to that way… there are no circumstances that qualify that approach. Jade’s contempt and superiority as alpha male was the most definitive racist bullying I have ever had the displeasure to witness.

Channel Four played a videotape of Shilpa saying that she thought she was suffering racism in a chat with Cleo. Later videotape showed Shilpa saying that she had changed her mind. They also played videotape showing Jade saying that she never meant to be racist, and that her quarrels with Shilpa were not racially motivated. It is perfectly clear that Jade doesn’t know what racism actually entails; she has learning difficulties.

However, this all seems to rather miss the point in my view; Shilpa cannot be a good judge of housemate racism because all of it takes place without her knowledge; Jo, Danielle and Jackiey have talked about Shilpa in racist terms behind her back.

Evicted Carole Malone said that they all had fun mimicking each other’s different accents, but in the case of Shilpa the mimicry was in a poisoned context and constituted a racist slur and done behind her back. Danielle Lloyd has made the most racist comments — to which Jade and Jo have laughed enthusiastically. Jade seems to think that because it was not done in front of the person, then it cannot be racism or bullying — just three girls talking in private.

They have trouble saying “Shilpa“, she has been called “That Indian”, “The bloody Paki”, and “Shilpa Puppadom“. “She wants to be white”,”She’s a dog”, “I wish she would fuck off home”,”Get back to your slums”, “Why do we have to eat when she wants?” (when she’s done all the cooking), and references about Indians eating with their hands “You don’t know where their hands have been, it’s disgusting!”, and that they are starving and undernourished because they do not know how to cook chicken properly.

Some have suggested that it cannot be racism because Jermaine is not included (even though Jade did state her belief that his mother was white). But then, perhaps British racism is more against brown people than black people (Indian rather than African), perhaps it is less likely for Girls to bully boys than to bully their own gender, or perhaps you can only bully those perceived as a rival or as vulnerable?

Perhaps these three women have seen her as a threat for being more successful financially (amassed a £15 million fortune) and in her career achievements (over 50 movies, award-winning performances etc). She is a threat too for being so fit, healthy and good-looking (Shilpa does 40 sit-up crunches each morning and makes an effort with her appearance). Perhaps they feel that she is too posh (and ‘needs’ to be brought down to their ‘common’ level)? Well, what if she was a Hollywood actress instead of a Bollywood actress? I think they would have reacted quite differently. This is definitely bigotry; they bullied Shilpa using racial slurs

Shilpa has asked them what the problem is, she has cooked and cleaned for the group even though she is not used to such work in her normal life, and she has even tried to join in their lewd chats and begun swearing like them — and this approval-seeking has psychologically placed her as the underdog and victim to these strange and untalented so-called celebrities.

The Big Brother show as evolved through time as contestants have become familiar with the format, with ‘reality television game-shows’ and with the idea of instant celebrity and shortcuts to the top with this and other shows — such as ‘Pop Idol’, and ‘X Factor’.

Jade Goody was in the same Big Brother House as Sophie and Lee (who became a couple), Kate Lawler and Alison Hammond (who are now successful TV presenters), and Tim (the posh chap who dyed his ginger hair). Who could forget Jade giving student lawyer PJ a blow-job on live TV, or Jade undressing and showing her “Kebab”? Who could forget Sandy pissing in the bin and then escaping the Big Brother house by climbing over the roof? Or Alex Sibley the model singing “That’s the way (aha aha) I like it”?

‘Celebrity Big Brother’ or ‘Comic Relief Big Brother’ is different to the ‘Big Brother’ in that it is supposed to be for charity, and it is supposed to be more entertaining as a result of having ‘celebrities’ — people who are used to the limelight, know how to handle themselves publicly, and who don’t mind showing a new side — cooking, cleaning, sleeping, washing, no make-up and so forth.

It seemed like a brilliant idea, no doubt; ‘celebrities’ could breathe life into flagging or dead careers, set up new ones, network and schmooze and be liked by the hoi polloi for being ‘real’ and ‘normal’ after all. The public would enjoy seeing them in a confined group, watching how they cope with prison life, and hear all about their past experiences.

However, it has not worked out quite right, has it?

The trial of getting someone who is a Big Celebrity abroad, but who is not all that well-known in the UK was a great success last year with Dennis Rodman, so the producers managed to get Shilpa Shetty, an A-list award-winning Bollywood actress.

An Indian star would bring in the millions of Asian viewers, and could open things up of Bollywood stars known only to that community. However big a star Shilpa may already be, it is still contained in a niche market, so the Big Brother producers covered themselves by getting in a couple of Americans that most people would know, but who were not really interested in breathing life into a new career, starting new careers or even getting a UK profile — enter Jermaine Jackson and Dirk Benedict. Who knows, maybe Dirk’s got a book coming out. Certainly, Tito JacksonJermaine’s brother is simultaneously on UK TV as a judge on a talent show, so maybe they are doing a Jackson Family image make-over, or a fix-the-damage-done by Michael and LaToya.

The ‘eye-candy’ was disgraced Miss England, Danielle Lloyd for the boys and Ian Watkins for the girls (although he ‘came out’ as a homosexual on the first day)!

Faded career Celebs looking for a break would have to be short, curly Leo Sayer, Cleo Rocos (who looks remarkably like The Joker), and Pat Butcher lookalike, ‘Smokin’ Jo O’Meara. The ‘John McCririck‘ position would have to be filled by Ken Russell.

Of course, they always need someone from an almost controversial indie band, a Maggot, a Kenzie, a Baz é voila: Donny Tourette.

The ‘evil’ Jackie Stallone position was given to Jade Goody, who came as a package with her schoolboy lover, Jack Tweed, her one-armed mother, Jackiey Budden and her guesting grandparents, John & Sylvia Budden!

The race mix, just like last year has created tensions, and again the show has managed to be discussed in the House of Commons. The topics again are Bullying and racism.

As soon as Greer last year and Sayer this year realised that the show was going to be detrimental to their careers and credibility/image, there was a walk-out.

Brigitte Neilson should have walked out as soon as Jackie Stallone arrived. Donny Tourette didn’t make that mistake — he knew straight away that his image would be ruined by staying to serve Jade Goody as a servant. Ken Russell quarrelled with Jade, and saw the way things were going, so he walked out too.

  • If Jermaine and Dirk had a clear agenda for doing the show, it would have been almost certain that Jade’s entry would have resulted in them walking out as well.

Jack Dee was pretty down-to-earth for a celebrity, as was Mark Owen, and Chantelle was not a celebrity at all, so this celebrity show’s winners have been the ones nearest to the public idea of the ‘norm’ — and this suggested Jade and her family rather than a ‘real’ celebrity as this year’s winners. This is probably why Jade agreed to do the show.

However, Jade’s mum blew it and was quickly evicted. Jade has blown it — between her and Shilpa, Jade got a whopping 82% of the record public vote. Jack won’t win — in fact, if he was a man at all he would have walked to support Jade through what was obviously a troubled time — she would need his support. Jo and Danielle have blow it for the ‘nearly normals’, so it seems down to Ian, Jermaine, Cleo, Shilpa and Dirk to win this show.

All I can say is that I hope next year’s contestants (if there is a show next year) do some homework and actually watch the show. Perhaps they can get some coaching beforehand?


1. dave - 2007/01/21


The Sun newspaper editorial: “Jade Goody went into the Big Brother house appearing to be simply a fun-loving working-class girl canny enough to have made millions from her 15 minutes of fame. It was all a meticulously manufactured lie.

“She has left the house with her true personality laid bare – a vile, pig-ignorant, racist bully consumed by envy of a woman of superior intelligence, beauty and class.”

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu: “Sadly ignorance is not in short supply. Racism is real.

“As the week’s events on reality television demonstrate, there is an ugly underbelly in society only too ready to point the finger at the foreigner, or those who might not fit in.

PR guru Max Clifford: “Ironically, the programme that made [Jade] could be the programme that breaks her.

“Whoever is responsible for putting her in there obviously is responsible for possibly finishing her career.”

2. wikipedia-obsessed - 2007/01/31

From Wikipedia…
Sponsor and corporate backlash

On 18 January, The Carphone Warehouse suspended its sponsorship of Celebrity Big Brother with immediate effect over the alleged racism. This does not however, entitle the Carphone Warehouse to recoup prepaid sponsorship monies, therefore causing minimal financial damage to Channel 4 The company’s chief executive, Charles Dunstone, said in a statement:

“Our concern has rapidly mounted about the broadcast behaviour of individuals within the Big Brother house. We are totally against all forms of racism and bullying and indeed this behaviour is entirely at odds with the brand values of the Carphone Warehouse. As a result we feel that as long as this continues we are unable to associate our brand with the programme. We had already made it clear to Channel 4 that were this to continue, we would have to consider our position. Nothing we saw last night gave us any comfort. Accordingly we have instructed Channel 4 to remove our sponsorship name and branding with immediate effect.”

Fragrance chain The Perfume Shop announced they are to withdraw Jade Goody’s brand of perfume, Shh…, from their stores.

Pharmacy chain Boots and Debenhams department stores followed suit and also pulled the perfume from their shelves.

HarperCollins has canceled plans to publish the paperback version of Jade Goody’s autobiography. The book, titled “Jade: My Autobiography” was published in its hardbound version in May 2006 and scheduled to be released in paperback on February 5, 2007. A spokesman for the firm stated:

“In light of recent events, HarperCollins has decided it wouldn’t be appropriate to proceed with the paperback publication of Jade: My Autobiography as planned on 5 February. The author and agent support this decision.”

Living TV cancelled its six-figure contract with Jade Goody, though it didn’t specifically cite Jade’s behavior as a cause.

Rocawear cancelled its contract with Danielle Lloyd to be a spokemodel for the brand. Company director Steve Crayson is quoted as saying:

“As a leading global fashion brand, we condemn any form of intolerance and/or racism.

“We don’t believe Danielle to be racist, but cannot ignore the comments made by her while on Channel 4.”

Motorcycle insurance firm Bennetts terminated its six-figure agreement with Danielle Lloyd to be the spokes model for their company. A firm spokesperson is quoted as saying:

“Bennetts is strongly opposed to any form of racism and bullying.” … “In light of the accusations which have been made against Miss Lloyd, it has taken the decision to terminate its arrangements with her.”

Hertsmere Borough Council, the owners of Big Brother’s studios in Elstree have threatened to refuse permission to film.

Other sponsors of the show, Beauty-boxes.com, Zamya aromatherapy products, United Biscuits and Cobra Beer withdrew sponsorship from the programme and deals with a number of advertisers, including Cow & Gate, the baby food manufacturer, and moneysupermarket.com were cancelled.

Big Brother intervenes in the racism controversy

A Channel 4 spokeswoman admitted Big Brother had intervened in the latest row – but only to make contestants “realise that what they have said has been misconstrued in the house”. The idea, she said, was to allow the housemates “to explain themselves” to their fellow contestants. This was followed by a series of apologies by the housemates to Shilpa and a declaration by her that she did not believe Jade was racist. Also Jade said inside the house before she left:
“I know why there’s no noise.”

When Shilpa asked “Why?” Jade replied:

“I know, but I can’t tell you. In an interview with the Daily Star, Jade admitted that, during her final hours in the Channel 4 house, Big Brother had revealed that her abuse of Shilpa had ruined her own “girl-next-door” image.

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