- Last Updated on 02 August 2012
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On-air bullying, comments criticized as racist and the description of one of the housemates as a "retard" have led to the latest complaints about the U.K. version of the global hit format from reality TV producer Endemol.
Ofcom said it has launched an investigation to look into all the incidents, including one in which housemate Conor McIntyre launched a tirade of insults against Miss India U.K. contestant Deana Uppal. The regulator told THR that this tirade alone prompted 1,108 complaints with many viewers saying it amounted to bullying.
McIntyre was warned about his behavior by the producers of Big Brother after using a string of expletives and called his housemate "a piece of shit." The incident occurred and was broadcast on June 25 on the Channel 5 show.
Another incident involved a female housemate calling a black contestant a "ridiculous gorilla" with "no sanitation." Ofcom said it registered 114 complaints from viewers about the remark on June 28, which was perceived as racets.
And on July 4, a former Big Brother housemate appeared on spin-off show Big Brother's Bit on the Side and referred to the other contestants as functioning "retards," which prompted only three complaints to Ofcom, according to the regulator.
A Channel 5 spokesman said the broadcaster is committed to complying with Ofcom's broadcasting code and "will help to facilitate a speedy investigation into this particular episode of Big Brother and Big Brother's Bit on the Side."
Ofcom's current investigation into the show is not the first run-in that the regulator and the format have had in the U.K.
Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty found herself at the center of a race row when a version of the show was aired by Channel 4 in 2007. The channel was forced to apologize to viewers for racism on the reality show Celebrity Big Brother, but escaped financial consequences after Ofcom deemed it guilty of "serious editorial misjudgment" in the matter.
The broadcaster then was found guilty of breaching editorial guidelines by allowing the bullying of Shetty who ended up winning the celebrity edition of the show after at one point being referred to as "Shilpa Poppadom."
The public firestorm over the events generated more than 50,000 complaints to the broadcaster and regulators as well as drawing criticism from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Indian government at the time.
Source Website: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/google/bully/~3/qEb_O5Pg3FU/url