'Celebrity Big Brother 2007' Controversy|Business Ethics|Case Study|Case Studies

'Celebrity Big Brother 2007' Controversy

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG077
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Channel 4
Industry : Media
Countries : UK

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Much of what is shown on Big Brother is grotesque. I think the current controversy only serves to underline this point. I am saddened by the way in which the programme now seems to be operating. It is encouraging unhappy, unfortunate and dysfunctional people to misbehave. I am surprised that Channel 4's chief executive should allow this travesty to continue."1

- Vanni Treves, Former Chairman, Channel 4 2, in January 2007.

"There is a very thin line between what is entertainment and a vile spectacle and I think we are in that area now. What this treatment (alleged bullying and racist abuse) of Shilpa has done is remind a lot of Asian people in Britain of the type of uncomfortable treatment they've received themselves over the years."3

- Meera Syal, Actress and Women Rights Activist, in January 2007.

The Winner

On January 28, 2007, Shilpa Shetty (Shetty), the Bollywood4 actress born in India, won Channel 4's reality show 'Celebrity Big Brother 2007' in UK with 67 percent of the viewers' final votes.5 According to Max Clifford, the British celebrity publicist hired by Shetty to assist her in gaining publicity in Britain, "It's been a huge success for her because of how she's handled these nasty attacks (alleged racism by the housemates) with dignity."6

The show started on January 03, 2007, and lasted 26 days. It was viewed by an estimated nine million viewers in the UK, representing 15 percent of the entire country's population.7

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Shetty, the first Indian to have participated in the British television show, bagged an estimated 100,0008 in prize money by defeating the last remaining contestant, Jermaine Jackson, the brother of well-known pop singer Michael Jackson.

Shetty's stay with her fellow housemates during the show had not been a pleasant one as she had to face frequent 'racist' comments from them. According to media reports, her skin color, accent, cooking and general behavior, were made fun of by three of her fellow housemates. The show received thousands of complaints and there were demonstrations in different parts of India in protest against the racial abuse. The happenings on the show were widely publicized in national newspapers in both the UK and India. Because of the unpleasantness she had to face and the high publicity, Shetty became public's favorite, and went on to win the contest.

'Celebrity Big Brother 2007' Controversy - Next Page>>

1] "Channel 4 May Axe Big Brother,"The Times of India, January 22, 2007.

2] Channel 4 is a public-service British television station, broadcasted to all areas of the United Kingdom (and also the Republic of Ireland), which began transmissions in 1982 (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org).

3] "Shilpa Case: Blair Opposes Racism,"www.tribuneindia.com, January 17, 2007.

4] Bollywood is the informal name given to the popular Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. Bollywood is only a part of the Indian film Industry (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org).

5] "Shilpa Wins,"www.channel4.com, January 28, 2007.

6] "Actress Wins British 'Big Brother' After Bullying,"www.msnbc.msn.com, January 28, 2007.

7] Jack Lamport, "Poppadom Goes Places,"www.telegraphindia.com, January 30, 2007.

8] As on June 15, 2007, 1 is equivalent to INR 80.71.


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