Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shilpa Shetty .

Shilpa has been the talk of the nation today. Shilpa has been featured on front page headlines , radio shows, television and has been discussed at large by the general public. Shilpa Shetty is a contestant on the Channel 4 television programme called Big Brother . Other contestants have said things to and about her that have caused a lot of controversy. Allegations of racism have been raised and Ofcom , the broadcasting watchdog has received 27,000 complaints about the television programme. The Carphone Warehouse has suspended it's sponsorship of the Big Brother show and The Perfume Shop said today it had decided to withdraw sales of Jade's perfume from its shelves following the Big Brother controversy.

So now I will add my thoughts to this growing debate...

Big Brother is only a television programme, these contestants are paid big money to entertain the viewer. The language used by other contestants must go with the territory. There should be no censorship of this television programme and contestants must be allowed to speak freely and have the right to free expression. The viewer has the right to watch the programme and to switch it off if they do not like it for whatever reason. I think it is rather sad that 27,000 people have complained to Ofcom about the programme rather than just switch the programme off. Whether the comments broadcast were racist is open to debate but even if they were, what is the big deal? This is only a television programme and meant as entertainment. The contestants who spoke badly about Shilpa displayed their ignorance, bigotry and did themselves no favours by being vulgar. I believe this will be reflected in the telephone votes from viewers. A lot of the views expressed by the other contestants are commonly held throughout our country and one of the best ways to combat the evils of racism is to have open debates alongside educational campaigns. This programme has highlighted many issues of tolerance in our country and the differences between communities. I think that The Carphone Warehouse and The Perfume Shop have both taken commercial decisions to protect their market share rather than scare off existing and potential customers. This is not a moral issue for these companies or a stance against racism but a hard look at the bottom line. I think Shilpa will come out of this programme very well and will gain a lot of public support for her stamina against these vulgar contestants. Shilpa has a good chance of winning this show and I hope she does win. It will be a just reward for her contribution to this television programme if Shilpa was to win and in any event she will be able to walk out with her head held high. I think the vulgar contestants will get booed big time from the eviction night audiences and that disapproval they will rightly deserve.

I agree with Respect MP and former Celebrity Big Brother contestant George Galloway, who said the insults are down to ignorance and jealously rather than overt racism.

He told radio station talkSPORT: "I would not myself say that it is primarily a racial dispute. I think it's more of a class thing than a race thing.

"I am appalled but not surprised at some of the ignorance and some of the boorishness from some of the participants.

"I think they hate this woman because she is beautiful, because she's classy, because she's haughty, because she speaks English better than they do."

And he claimed the public, spurred on by the media, had overreacted.

"I think people have reacted in too knee-jerk a way and I think a lot of these complaints are therefore misplaced," he added.

...Well said George Galloway.
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