Indian star's tormentor kicked off reality TV show
By Mike Collett-White
1 hour, 20 minutes ago
British television star Jade Goody, accused at home and abroad of being a racist bully for her treatment of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, was evicted from the "Celebrity Big Brother" show on Friday.
The 25-year-old was favorite to be kicked out by public vote after she was cast as the villain of a program that triggered protests and dominated headlines in Britain and India, prompted a sponsor to pull out and now threatens Goody's career.
After leaving the Big Brother House, which is cut off from the outside world, Goody appeared embarrassed after watching footage from the series and from recent news bulletins.
"I can't dignify myself because that video footage of myself is nasty," she said. "I'm not going to sit here and try and justify myself. Yes, I said those things and they were nasty."
But she denied she was a racist or a bully.
"I am not a racist and I sincerely ... apologize to anybody I've offended out there."
Goody, who rose to fame after a 2002 appearance on "Big Brother," also hinted that she was concerned her career, built on reality television, could be in jeopardy.
"It was the beginning of my career and it's the end of my career," she said before leaving the house.
Shetty, an A-list Indian star, was called a "dog" on the show. Housemates refused to learn her name, referred to her as "the Indian" and "Poppadom," and model Danielle Lloyd said: "She should fuck off home. She can't even speak English."
Internet chatrooms, newsrooms and newspapers have been abuzz with debate about whether what was said on the show constituted racism and to what extent Goody and her allies in the Big Brother House reflected prejudices in society at large.
POLITICIANS WEIGH IN
Top politicians have weighed into the row, which dogged a visit to India by finance minister Gordon Brown.
"There is a lot of support for Shilpa," Brown told reporters after visiting Bollywood producer Yash Raj Chopra at a studio in a northern Mumbai suburb. "It is pretty clear we are getting the message across. Britain is a nation of tolerance and fairness."
But Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, was in no doubt that events on "Celebrity Big Brother" were part of a broader problem.
"What we are seeing is a noxious brew of old-fashioned class conflict, straightforward bullying, ignorance and quite vicious racial bigotry," he said.
"This program has laid bare the dark heart of private prejudice that all too often sits behind the public veneer of tolerance."
Some commentators argue that the issue is one of class more than race, while others consider events in the house as little more than bickering prompted by jealousy.
Shetty herself rowed back from earlier comments suggesting she was a victim of racism, and she and Goody hugged and made up on Thursday and Friday.
Channel 4, under pressure to limit the fallout, banned crowds gathering outside the house on Friday, meaning a surprised Goody was greeted by silence instead of the shouts and cheers she would have expected.
The channel, which has seen audiences jump by over two million viewers since the furor erupted, also canceled a post-eviction press conference.
Carphone Warehouse, Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer which paid around 3 million pounds ($5.9 million) for a year's sponsorship of this series and another in the summer, said it was pulling out because it did not want to be associated with allegations of racist bullying.
(Additional reporting by Sumeet Desai in Mumbai)