SHADMIA'S WORLD

Just Another Guy with Opinions

More Controversy at Big Brother

Posted by shadmia on June 10, 2007

The TV reality program Big Brother is certainly no stranger to controversy. Indian actress Shilpa Shetty was involved in a racial incident on the previous show. Now it seems as if racism has raised its head again on the current show. One of the contestants, Emily Parr, called her housemate Charley Uchea, a nigger. She immediately apologized for using the word, claiming that she was only joking, was not a racist and did not intend to offend anyone. Charley said she was not offended but was certainly shocked by the use of the word. After much debate amongst the contestants and presumably the management of Big Brother, Emily Parr was kicked off the show. Below are two video clips. The first one captures the incident and the ensuing discussion. The second one shows Emily being booted off the show.

Emily calls Charley a Nigger

Emily gets the Boot

In the aftermath of all of this Channel 4, which produces the show, issued the following statement:

In consultation with senior executives at Channel 4, the decision was taken to remove Emily from the house on the grounds that she had broken the rules governing contestant behaviour.

The House Rules given to all contestants clearly state: “Big Brother will intervene and take appropriate action if housemates behave in a way that Big Brother considers is unacceptable.

“Unacceptable behaviour includes: behaving in a way that could cause serious offence to either their fellow housemates or members of the viewing public, including serious offence based on the grounds of race.

“Housemates who act in a way that is seriously unacceptable will be evicted.”

However some criticized the decision to remove Emily from the show. The following excerpt is from the Daily Mail. Read the entire article here.

Poor Emily. She is the loser in a much more complex game than anything played out on a Channel 4 reality show. It’s a game in which the card of racism is now enough to trump any other.

In this confusing, multicultural game, you can be a black male rapper talking about women in the most disgusting, gynaecologically-specific terms on the radio. You can even use the offensive n-word, the one Emily used just once, over and over again and no one will dare to breathe a word of criticism.

But if you are white, like Emily Parr, and you make the mistake of thinking you enjoy equal status in this game, then boy, are you in trouble.

Emily’s mistake was to think she could act black. And Channel 4 pounced. You could practically hear the producers’ cheer. Bingo! They had got their sacrificial lamb.

It was no use Emily protesting that, only seconds earlier, Charley herself had used the n-word. Nor that, among black friends at home, Emily is often called ‘wigger’ – an affectionate reference to her genuine love of black culture.

Desperate to exonerate itself after the shaming shambles of Shilpagate, here was Channel 4’s chance to prove it was a responsible broadcaster after all.

Emily should have been sent to the communal bathroom to wash her mouth out with soap and water, not hung out to dry.

Although no-one wants to be perceived as supporting racism, there seems to be overwhelming support for Emily Parr. Channel 4 received 922 complaints about Emily being booted from the show verses 68 who thought the channel did the right thing. Many thought that Channel 4 was over-reacting to the Shilpa Shetty affair. According to Anorak, Channel 4 was in trouble no matter how they decided to handle the matter:

How much better it would have been had Big Brother just kept Emily in the house, allowed the housemates to sort it out between themselves, just like in real life. But the tabloids would have got berserk. Black celebrities and former housemates would have been lined up to condemn the show. And Deranged of Surbiton would have called the local police station and reported a crime. So Big Brother becomes big brother.

 

 

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