Police have launched an investigation after more than 1,000 complaints about racist insults towards Deana Uppal on reality show Big Brother were made.
The 23-year-old Indian-origin model who hails from Birmingham, was subjected to a 'tirade of insults' on the show and on Twitter last week. Conor McIntyre, a contestant on the show, was warned about his aggressive behaviour by Big Brother, particularly towards Uppal. During the June 25 episode, he used a string of expletives and called her "a piece of shit". The second incident involved housemate Caroline Wharram calling Adam Kelly, a black contestant, a "ridiculous gorilla ... with no sanitation". Both remarks sparked a wave of complaints from viewers.
Separately a teenager was taken into custody for questioning in Whitehaven, Cumbria after he allegedly posted online racist abuse about Uppal.
The Ofcom spokeswoman told the Press Trust of India that the incident in which housemate McIntyre abused Uppal prompted 1,108 complaints. "Many viewers thought it amounted to bullying," she said.
The second incident, which prompted 114 complaints, contestant Caroline Wharram described a black housemate, Adam Kelly, as a "ridiculous gorilla" with "no sanitation", which some viewers saw as racist, Ofcom said.
The race row has bought back memories of the infamous 2007 incident which saw racist comments by contestant Jade Goody against Shilpa Shetty. On that incident, Ofcom had ruled that Channel 4, which was airing Big Brother at the time, had breached its code of conduct.