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Derek McMillan

Big Brother

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You would have to be stuck in the Antarctic or adrift in an open boat (lucky you) to have missed the row over the bullying and abuse of one of the contestants in the strangely named Celebrity Big Brother.

Following criticism of the "celebrity" credentials of the participants, a couple of genuine celebrities Leo Sayer and Ken Russell (who were just a little past their sell-by date) deserted the house.

Then a way of boosting the ratings seemed to fall into Endemol's lap with the ignorant racist abuse directed at Shilpa Shetty by multi-millionairess Jade Goody.

It will be remembered that Endermol swore to ensure George Galloway did not use the Big Brother house as a platform for anti-war sentiments. They used the situation to make George Galloway appear foolish - aided and abetted by George Galloway of course. They have continued to defend their broadcasting of racist abuse on the grounds that it is not really racist as such.

Back in the day there was a term "racialism" which was applied to distrust and hostility towards other races based on ignorance. The Indian Workers' Association differentiated this from "racism" which they defined as the manipulation of racialism to stir up hatred. It seems clear that Jade Goody's abuse is an example of the former rather than the latter.

Under pressure, Endemol have muttered about donating a fraction of their obscene profits from this imbroglio to charity but the set-up of Big Brother ensures they continue to profit whatever happens.

One wonders how long it will be before one of the housemates murders another under the artificial strains imposed on them by the situation and whether that will prove a money-spinner for Endemol as well.

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