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Anger over alleged racist taunting of a Bollywood star on a British reality TV show simmered in India for a second day Thursday, even as an Indian official tried to cool down the issue.
Shilpa Shetty, 31, was repeatedly reduced to tears during â€œCelebrity Big Brotherâ€ by a fellow contestant who has called the actressâ€™ cooking untrustworthy, mocked her accent and complained about her â€œscreeching.â€
Another contestant said Indians were thin because they undercooked their food. Indian newspapersâ€™ splashed the story across their front pages for a second day Thursday. TV news channels ran clips of Shetty crying.
A Hindustan Times newspaper editorial said â€œattacks on her (Shetty) show that racism is never really far from the surface.â€
A sponsor dropped Britain’s “Celebrity Big Brother” on Thursday following thousands of complaints that Indian film star Shilpa Shetty was the target of racial abuse, though she declared that race was not the reason she has clashed with housemates.
Channel 4 Chief Executive Andy Duncan insisted that the reality TV show would continue, saying it was unclear if the abuse was racist.
Following an argument with housemate Jade Goody, Shetty initially said she believed she was the target of racial abuse. But then in an interview released by Channel 4, Shetty said: “I think there are a lot of insecurities from her end, but it’s definitely not racial.”
As political pressure and the number of complaints from the public grew, the Carphone Warehouse, a chain of stores selling mobile phone contracts, said it was suspending its sponsorship of the Channel 4 show.