Shilpa Shetty gets bullied in the Big Brother House

Shilpa ShettyAs many of you may already know, Indian film actress Shilpa Shetty is currently living in the Big Brother (UK) house. She has reportedly been paid a whopping sum of money by channel 4 to participate in the reality show. I started watching this series of Celebrity Big Brother as all the television shows I watch are in the middle of a season break and I was interested in seeing how Shilpa Shetty was doing in the house. And to sum it up in one sentence she is having a really tough time in there. The behaviour of fellow female house members towards her has been absolutely appalling.

First it was Jackie who refused to call Shilpa by her name and referred to her as “the Indian”. Soon, her daughter Jade and Jade’s boyfriend jack joined in on the act. During a conversation with Jade, Jack used a very offensive term for Shilpa which was censored. Most people believe he either called her a ‘fucking paki� or a ‘cunt’. However, without a doubt the word was extremely offensive as it troubled even the nasty Jade.

Later Jack called shilpa a ‘wanker’. Ironically it’s Jack who has been caught in the act more than once.

This Wednesday the assault on Shilpa went into overdrive after eviction of Carole Malone. Jade and her group blamed Shilpa for Carole�s eviction and dubbed her as untrustworthy. When Shilpa tried to clarify and sort out matters Danielle called her a dog and said, “You are only the cook, we are all friends”.

In the video you can see Danielle calling Shilpa a dog repeatedly and when Shilpa asks Danielle if she did anything wrong Danielle says, “No. You are such a nice lady”. What a coward!

And then a few mins later she tells Jade that Shilpa is trying to come between their friendship. Again both Jade and Danielle shout for a few minutes and end up looking like fools as Danielle failed to provide any valid reason for her behaviour.

On Day 11, Jade and co had a laugh at Shilpa’s expense by mocking her for applying facial bleach (Danielle: “She wants to be white”).

On Day 13, Jade and Danielle had another go at Shilpa for her cooking. While Jade said that she wouldn�t even give the roasted chicken to her dog, Danielle complained that it had too much spice and was too pink in colour. Interestingly enough when Danielle was asked to cook she refused and said that she doesn�t even know how to prepare roasted vegetables.

I think this debacle demonstrates the sorry state of human kind. We claim to be civilized, yet we have failed to overcome petty issues like prejudice and racism. The fact is that prejudice and racism exists in some form or the other everywhere. It�s not just a western phenomenon. In India for example there is still large scale discrimination against the so called lower caste people.

Prejudice stems from ignorance and Big Brother has done a commendable job indeed in bringing some of the most ignorant celebrities together. Their ignorance is evident from every statement they make. Here are a few examples:

Jackie to Shilpa: Do you live in a shack? (apparently she believes all Indians live in shacks)

Jo (with reference to Shilpa’s cooking and the fact that Indian’s eat with hands: That’s why they’re all so thin because they’re sick all the time.

Jade: Rio de Janeiro – that’s a person.

Danielle in a TV quiz show when asked if Winston Churchill was a rapper, a US President, a Prime Minister or a king: Wasn’t he the first black President of America? There’s a statue of him near me – that’s black.

Jade: If I’m on the front cover of a magazine it probably sells more copies than Victoria Beckham. I’m the 25th most influ-inflin-inf infoolential person in the world. I don’t even know what the word means. (Shilpa told her the correct pronunciation of the word after this).

Big Brother to Jackie: On Friday before you entered the house Big Brother gave the celebrity housemates a dilemma.
Jackie: What�s a dimella?

Not only that on her Big Brother application form, Danielle listed her birthday as December 17, 2006 (Source)

Yesterday, Dirk (an American) had to explain to some of the British house members what GMT meant!

Thankfully there are a few sane housemates who have noticed what is going on. All along the show Jermaine Jackson and Dirk Benedict have been supportive of Shilpa. Jermaine commented that Shilpa is the only coloured girl and was being picked upon. He even adviced her to use a few of her Kung-Fu moves (she has black belt in Karate). Jermaine consoled her by saying, “Jade can’t read you because she’s not on your level. It’s like going to a meeting and it all going over your head.” Another housemate Ian commented that �It’s like bullying. I was bullied at school and it’s not nice. It’s really, really unfair”.
Carol Malone who was voted out earlier this week wrote:

The woman (Shilpa) has heart and grace and elegance – all of which she’s going to need because Jade and Danielle are gunning for her. Jade�s mum Jackiey hated Shilpa and constantly referred to her as “The Indian” which I found horribly insulting. Jackiey made life purposely difficult for Shilpa – shouting at her for no reason, criticising her cooking, and attacking her for being bossy. Most of the time Shilpa kept her cool because, as she says, in India you don’t shout at your elders – you try to show them respect, a word Jackiey clearly doesn’t understand or deserve.
THERE was a point where Jermaine and I were frightened Jackiey might physically attack Shilpa.

She went on to say that Shilpa is too good-looking for her own good. I believe she may have hit the nail on the head as far as Danielle’s attitude towards Shilpa is concerned. Danielle who was chosen as Ms Great Britain (she was later stripped of her title for having alleged relationships with one of the judge), has proved how superficial these beauty contests are. Ironically Danielle Lloyd is a supporter of ECHO’s Bully Busting campaign and was herself a victim of bullying in school (Source)

What is even more infuriating is Endemol’s attitude towards this issue. They have been trying their best to project Jade and her gang in good light by biased editing and in spite of plenty of proof to the contrary they continue to claim that no bullying is going on in the house.

Unfortunately for them, a lot of people watch the live stream of the big brother and knew exactly what was going on. The sensible British public raised their voice in the internet forums and many complained to Ofcom. According to media reports Ofcom has received more than 200 complains. An online petition calling for action against the bullies has so far received 2711 signatures. Ofcom recently revealed that they are investigating the matter. This campaign launched by mainly forum members has also resulted in the coverage of the issue by the mainstream British media.

While most of the British Celebrities have been embarrassingly shallow, Shilpa has done Indians proud. Throughout the show she has been dignified and graceful. Unlike all the other girls she hasn�t engaged in bitching and has remained positive in spite of all the expletives hurled at her. Kudos to her!

Media Reports

The Telegraph (India)
Times of India
ITN News
Daily Mail
Manchester Evening News
Glasgow Daily Record
This is London
In fact this has become an international news with many dailes from countries like Malaysia and Nepal covering it.

Update #1 (16th Jan): BBC reports that more than 4,500 complaints have been received by both regulator Ofcom and Channel 4.
Update #2 (17th Jan): The issue will be raised by NRI Keith Vaz (MP from the Labour Party) in the British parliament. Meera Syal from The Kumars At No 42 has said :

There is a very thin line between what is entertainment and a vile spectacle and I think we are in that area now. What this treatment of Shilpa has done is remind a lot of Asian people in Britain of the type of uncomfortable treatment they’ve received themselves over the years. I have great admiration for the way Shilpa’s handled herself. But Channel 4 have been obviously rubbing their hands at the audience figures because everybody is talking about it now.

Update #3 (18th Jan): Jade and her gang’s bitching against Shilpa continued. Jade seems to have made up her mind to start shouting at Shilpa as soon as Shilpa opens her mouth to say something. But, Shilpa has also decided to fight back without loosing her dignity (with the help of smart one liners)Have a look at this clip from Big Brother’s Little Brother

Meanwhile, Channel 4 continues to deny that rasicm or bullying is happening inside the house. However, Danielle was caught admitting that she was warned secretly by Big Brother.

Ofcom has recieved more than 20,000 complaints against Big Brother which is the higest ever. Today the issue was discussed in the British House of Commons and India has requested a proper inquiry into the matter through the British High Commision (in India).

Update #4 (19th Jan): While initially C4 tried to play down the controversy by attributing the confrontations to simple girly rivalry. Now, they are defining it as a cultural clash ! Yesterday, they called Jade into the Diary room and spoke to her for about an hour. After coming out Jade made the following statement and apologised. According to reports she was instructed to do so. This is what she said :

Kate Moss invited me back to her house for a party, that’s my claim to fame. Not Shilpa Derupa. I don’t know what her name is, particularly. I don’t really care. LIke I said last night it’s Shilpa Poppadom or something. It was just, as in, I’ll take anything – Shilpa Poppadom. It wasn’t anything. If I’ve offended any Indians out there, I apologise.

Even while apologising her language was crude and offensive. The term Poppadom is considered by many to be a racist one. When a normal person had used it against a co-worker, she lost her job (Source). Let’s see what explanation C4 offers this time.

Update #5 (21st Jan): Jade Goody has been evicted with a whopping 82% of votes. Jacqueline Goody Jade Goody’s grandmother has confessed to coloumnist and evicted CBB contestant Carole Malone that she believes her grand daughter is a racist bully. You can read her coloumn here.

14 Responses to Shilpa Shetty gets bullied in the Big Brother House

  1. Anand January 16, 2007 at 1:39 pm #

    What a ridiculous post. Stop taking life so seriously. All these shows are pre-planned. What do you know about Shilpa Shetty that makes you say she is sweet and sensible? Let me guess. You saw that on a silly so-called reality TV show?

    Almost all of it is made up. I know you can watch the streaming feeds live, but that does not discount the fact that the characters can be ‘told’ to do so. After all, unless there is infighting/groupism, will such a reality show run? Let me guess. No.

    However, if you’re posting this just to get hits, then you will get a lot of them.

  2. wat January 16, 2007 at 2:10 pm #

    lol anand…if your so clueless about these matters i suggest you refrain from commenting..unless u enjoy making an arse of yourself

  3. Anand January 16, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

    Oh, yes, I’m clueless. There is nothing pre-planned. Would you watch a show, in which all the characters are ‘nice’ to each other? I’m not saying that every line comes from the script. All that the producers and the channel care about is TRPs. Remember, there is nothing like ‘bad’ publicity. Controversies are generated to keep the viewer interested. It’s a common trend these days. A large proportion of ‘reality shows’ these days have had some sort of controversy, to generate interest.

    But yes, I’m clueless.

  4. neha January 16, 2007 at 2:52 pm #

    dude its all show biz.
    After all she was paid all that sum of money, and shud know priorly how the show has been always. So it was a risk she had to take.

    N another thing, she dint even migle wid those ppl be4….she stood out instead. Fair enuf if u support her now but shez got a mouth to answer back too rite? cant she?

    anyways the show got what it wanted. One bollywood actress in big brother n whole of india(almost) and rest of we indo folks round this planet turn our attention to this show. Very good business strategy !:)

  5. Pallab January 16, 2007 at 7:24 pm #

    Big Brother has been going on in countries like Netherlands, UK and USA for several years. And yes, bitching was present in each one of them.
    However, one must make the distinction between bitching and racism and bullying. The last two can not be tolerated under any circumstance.
    Anand, you are going to England for further studies. I will be interested in learning your reaction if you face same thing of racism.

    Neha, before the Goodies came in things weren’t really bad in the house. Shilpa was getting along with everyone. She did mingle a fair bit with the people there. Carole Malone has said that they became friends and will meet after the show is over. Here is a clip from earlier episode which shows Shilpa having fun with the housemates.

    The problem started with the introduction of the Goodies. All of them were extremely ignorant. Jackie and Jack’s behavior seemed to be racist on several occasions.

    I am upset because an Indian is being treated badly, it doesn’t matter if she is a celebrity or not. Heck, I would be upset if any human being was subjected to racism and prejudice.

    Thankfully, there are a lot of sensible people in Britain who realised what was going on inside the house was wrong and raised their voice. According to NDTV the matter was also raised by an NRI (Keith Vaz)in the British Parliament.

  6. Neha January 16, 2007 at 8:29 pm #

    shez gotto answer back !!!! omgg its embarasing for WE indians in UK !!!!!! sheeesh whats that girl up ! how STUPID she accepted her faults!

    WIMP ! simple answer them back !!!! there is nuthing bigger than self respect!
    If u dont do that then no one wud give u a damn ! SIMPLE as that.

    Being quite proves u DUMB and not “high”. So if shez smart she did fight back rather than leaving the issue unfinished.

  7. Sandy January 18, 2007 at 9:33 pm #

    I am commenting here, partly because I feel there is too much attention this show is getting as a result of this controversy, which, quite frankly it does not deserve and partly because I can see some extremely ignorant comments by some of the commentors.

    OK First of all – the show is a reality show, which as Anand says is pre-planned to some extent, but not fully; as is the case with most reality shows, otherwise where’s the fun? However, some of the behavior is pre-decided. That explains the hostility.

    But Anand’s comment on taking life less seriously is remarkably stupid. The point which the blogger made in this post is against racism and not the hostility. What the participants indulged in was ‘subtle and ‘controlled’ racism. This is something, which, even if it advised by the show to garner publicity is something which cannot be supported. Just because it proves that the prejudices which people talk about not existing in the developed countries, DO Exist, and exist in substantial proportions.

    I have no interest on commenting on Shilpa’s lack of a suitable retort to the bullying and racism, because that’s not my intention; but I would like to just appreciate the author’s effort in this case because it’s well-meant. Racism exists in different forms in different countries. In India it exists in the form of girls wanting to be fairer than their friends to get a good husband, and men advertising for fair and homely wives in the matrimonials. The class-system still exists in the remote hinterland, let’s not deny it. What this show has unknowingly done is expose the fact that all countries are prejudiced in some way or the other, and the quicker they introspect and find the reason for that, the better.

  8. tiamo January 19, 2007 at 9:12 am #

    I do agree with sandy! Racism is happening everywhere, worse in India (the class-system). Even in Malaysia (we have indian-malaysian race), the class-system is still being practiced by some cartoons. I have a doctor working with me once, he would treat the “high-class” indian like gods but to those lower cast, he didnt even want to see even in life & death situation. This is happening right infront of my eyes and I dislike him very much. Racism is reality and that show is all about it, I suppose!

  9. Pallab January 19, 2007 at 10:30 am #

    Yes. Racism exists everywhere in the world as I mentioned. However, you cant tolerate it in a telivision show. Its equivalent to condoning and indirectly encouraging such behavior.

  10. Blart January 19, 2007 at 1:55 pm #

    Right and wrong (in my opinion). Racism is everywhere. True.

    “You cant tolerate it in a telivision show. Its equivalent to condoning and indirectly encouraging such behavior”. Wrong!

    To be honest I couldn’t care where the persons creed, colour, culture, etc, etc. To me, there are good people, bad people, and people in the middle.

    To watch Jade, Danielle, and Jo go at Shilpa is simply laughable. Who the hell in their right mind would want to emulate any of these three? I have a 7 year old daughter who saw these three highly “infoo-inf-enshal” girls go at Shilpa and even she told me that is wrong, they’re not very nice.

    What annoys me most with cross culture disagreements is the “is it because i’m ******* (insert your own colour, etc here)” (and its variants) one liner which is used far to often in todays society. This I believe is more damaging to to ones colour, race, etc than television

  11. The King January 30, 2007 at 12:53 am #

    she won!! LOL.

  12. hi October 3, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    wow, i can’t believe those stupid racists. but shilpa got the last laugh. she won while all of the racist’s carers are ruined, they got death threats, one of them died!, one of them got badly beat up, while shilpa’s carer is better than ever! that definitely shows that what comes around goes around! btw, i’m not saying that that raceist deserverd to die, i’m just pointing out all these horrible things that happened after they treated shilpa this way. just shows that you better watch out after you treat someone with cruelty, karma!

  13. hi October 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    oh, people should stop trying to change the subject and pointing out that India has racism, to try making Briton look better. the fact of the matter is that there was racism in this show, and someone got badly hurt from it! this just goes to show how ignorant many people from Briton are, my cousins went to Briton and when they did, they said they got stares and a couple of rude comments. that spells out racism. i’m not saying all of them are raciest, but many are. and it’s really bad there in the UK. and not all Indian girls try to look fairer, only some, few actually. most of us are proud of our culture and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else or be anyone else. i am soooo lucky i wasn’t born white! now don’t go on saying i am raciest because i am not, i am accepting of all people and cultures, i’m just happy i’m not white or any other color except my own because i am proud of my self! thats my point of view and my opinion along, with several hundred million other people.


  1. Anonymous - January 16, 2007

    Shilpa Shetty gets bullied in the Big Brother House – Videos…

    As many of you may already know, Indian film actress Shilpa Shetty is currently living in the Big Brother (UK) house. She has reportedly been paid a whopping sum of money by channel 4 to participate in the reality show. I started watching this series o…

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