BIG Brother bullying victim Shilpa Shetty was last night accused of being a racist. The BB winner was blasted for starring in a comedy sketch that echoes the style of the Black And White Minstrel Show, axed in Britain in the 1978 amid a storm of protest. She is seen laughing and joking as a TV presenter cavorts around with a blacked-up face and an Afro wig.
It will stun millions of fans who backed her in the Celebrity Big Brother house as Shilpa, 31, suffered racist bullying from Jade Goody, 25. Model Danielle Lloyd, 23, and former S Club 7 singer Jo O’Meara, 27, were slammed for joining in with Jade’s jibes.
Black social commentator Jaye Williamson fumed: â€œMaybe Shetty is the racist – mocking Africans on her TV show? The outrage should be that people dare to cry racism on Shilpa’s behalf when she had the audacity to take part in a show that mocked Africans. â€œWhy should we as black people sympathise with Shilpa Shetty’s plight, when she hails from a country where 160million people are regarded as Untouchables, or Dalits, due to no other factor than the darkness of their skin.â€ The columnist for www.blackbritain.co.uk said it was disgraceful to see Shilpa and a TV presenter laughing at an Indian actor â€œblacked upâ€ and wearing a fuzzy wig.
The Black And White Minstrel Show, which featured white singers and dancers â€œblacked upâ€, ran in Britain from 1958 to 1978. Campaigners petitioned for it to be taken off the air, claiming it was deeply offensive. Eroll Walters, director of the Black Londoner’s Forum, said: â€œIt’s crude, and it’s crass. We are not against satire or humour but these ideas are completely out of date. It is offensive, and black people will be outraged. It is taking the mickey out of black people and it’s very insulting.â€ The offensive clip is on an Indian TV show called Extra Shetty. Shilpa was appearing on the etc music channel alongside goofy hosts Abid and Suresh Menon.
Celebrity Big Brother fan David Harrison, 29, from Bristol, an IT consultant, said last night: â€œI backed her to the hilt because she seemed to represent everything that stood up to racism and outdated ideas. â€œBut to see her laughing in this tasteless sketch undermines all that. She should hang her head in shame.â€
One industry insider said: â€œIt’s fair to say she wouldn’t be such a household name if it was not for the race row in the BB House. â€œSo for her to be seen larking around on this show while a presenter is dressed up like this is in pretty poor taste.â€
A spokesman for Asian network Zee TV, which runs the etc channel, was not available for comment last night.
What goes around comes around.