Racial Row on UK show
Jade Goody is interviewed by Davina McCall
following her eviction from the Celebrity Big
Photograph: Timothy Anderson/Channel 4/PA
Jade evicted as poll reveals public anger with Channel 4
Karen McVeigh and Jeevan Vasagar
Saturday January 20, 2007
Jade Goody was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house last night in a vote which could be seen as a public stand against racial intolerance. An overwhelming majority - 82% - of viewers voted against her. In a post-eviction interview, Goody said she was "embarrassed and disgusted" by her own behaviour.
The 25-year-old from Bermondsey, south-east London, was up for eviction against Shilpa Shetty, a Bollywood actor and the alleged victim of racist abuse from several housemates, especially Goody.
Before her departure was announced, an unprecedented 40,000 complaints were made to broadcast regulator Ofcom and the public were urged to "vote for tolerance" by a number of politicians including the chancellor, Gordon Brown.
Public anger over the racism row is underlined today by a Guardian/Marketing Sciences poll which shows most people believe Channel 4 should have intervened to stop the abuse of Shetty.
The public does not believe the housemates' behaviour is representative of the country, the poll shows, with 55% believing the insults directed at the Indian housemate were not typical of modern Britain. A quarter say it did reflect society, with more than half of people believing Channel 4 had engineered the clashes to gain viewing figures.
Mr Brown, who was yesterday visiting a Bollywood film studio in Mumbai during his visit to India, presented the choice between Goody and Shetty as one that would shape how the rest of the world sees Britain. "I know that people in India say that Britain is generally a country of tolerance," Mr Brown said. "It is up to people to cast their votes, but a vote for Britain is a vote for tolerance."
Goody left the house to an eery silence after Channel 4 banned the usual crowds from the eviction show. For once she appeared to pause for thought when presenter Davina McCall told her of the political and diplomatic storm her words had provoked and played back footage of her behaviour. She said that when her comments against Shetty, who she referred as "Shilpa Poppadom", were read back to her, she thought "Oh my God, maybe I am racist".
She added: "I look like a complete and utter nasty small person - the sort of person I don't like myself," but continued: "I am not a racist and I sincerely, with my hand on my heart, apologise to anyone I have offended out there."
If Goody was unaware of the effect her words would have, Shetty was not. In one exchange before the eviction, she told Goody she did not think her a racist, but added: "You said it, its going to be out and a lot of Indians heard it. Trust me, it's not going to go down well."
posted by Steve @ 6:38:00 AM