Friday, January 19, 2007

Celebrity Big Brother: Let's not forget the real victim here

Since we last mentioned Celebrity Big Brother, the story has grown and grown - there was a strange moment last night when you could flick between E4 and BBC One, and Russell Brand and David Dimbleby were both inviting an audience to ask famous faces about the goings on in the house.

David Cameron has pretty much defined his leadership by suggesting that the answer to the complex questions raised by the programme is to "not watch it" - the Tories, of course, have long responded to racism by looking the other way and pretending it isn't happening, so we shouldn't be surprised.

And Gordon Brown, trying to hide his glee that it's helped raise the profile of his visit to India to the front end of the new bulletins, snorts that he prefers the X-Factor.

Gordon likes a programme where the talented usually lose the big prize to someone a bit vapid but who looks good on TV? What can he find to enjoy there?

Very little of the coverage and debate seems able to define itself clearly: are people objecting to the programme, or are they objecting to the behaviour of Goody, that woman out of Zoo and Jo O'Meara? Isn't this the first time that Big Brother has actually done what it told us it wanted to, and really shown us what British society is really like? Channel 4 could argue, should they wish, that the programme isn't endorsing the behaviour and that there is a public interest in showing the way some people might behave when they're not appearing in anti-bullying campaigns. Of course, to do that, the network would have to admit that there's something nasty at the base of the bullying - but then it would have to explain why it hadn't followed the rules of the programme and put a stop to it.

As their careers tank, friends of the three women are popping up all over the media to insist how they haven't got a racist bone in their bodies, and how some of the people they have sometimes seen in the street might be a bit German or something.

A petition on PetitionOnline calls for us to care for the real victim here: Jo O'Meara, apparently:

We have witnessed Jo stand up for Shilpa, but also be dragged into Jade and Danielles bitching conversations, in which she doesnt seem to say anything (to avoid conflict with them) except look as though she is agreeing. She is now being seen as part of this gang by the outside world and this is just not her! The two things in life Jo is most against is racism and bullying. She has suffered herself in her younger years from bullying and would never dream of doing it to another. As for racist, this she is definatly not as some of her own family are of the Indian origin.

We think that the "of the Indian origin" probably says it all, really. We did wonder, though, if the echoes of "how can I hate women? My mother was one" meant this was just some post-modern prank, but the confusion the petition then sinks into suggests it's all done quite seriously:

If BB were fair on their editing of Jo and showed her positive comments, laughter, and entertainment and got rid of Jade Goody and Danielle -to avoid Jo being dragged in to any of their petty little sessions again- we guarantee you WILL see the real genuine Jo.

So... it's not actually that Jo's bullying Shilpa, it's just that she's joining in the bullying sessions because Jade and Danielle are there - only obeying orders, if you like? But then why was she sitting, cackling like one of the Hyenas in the Buffy 'Pack' episode? If she hates bullying so much, why didn't she step in? Why didn't she stop it? Why did she not walk out? Why did she sit there cackling?

The petition also has to try and work out how, if Jo is so at home with "people of the Indian origin", she made the ignorant comment about people in India being thin "because they don't cook their food properly." It tries to explain this:

Lastly, we do not condone the recent comment said by Jo at all, as it was extremely OUT of character for her and she does not seem to realise what she has said and the impact it can have. People close to Jo have admitted it is very unlike her and can see she has been heavily influenced and definatly spoke before thinking.

Aha! She's not racist when she has a chance to think through how her comments will look on television. Doubtless Trevor Phillips will be preparing the job offer right away.


Anonymous said...

i think its unfair and been blown out of preportion,lets not forget that jermaine called jackie white trash,but nothing seems to be highlighted about that inceident.which in terms is racis towards white people.i think jade dosent htink before she opens her loud all just comes bursting out.i dont think she was being racis,but you have to admit that shilpa is a bit annoying.she says things then total denies saying minuite she feels its racis the next she dosent,contridicting herself alot of the time.danielle is sly and follows jade about like a sheep you'd think they were back at school the way she not too sure about joe,after all she did find it amusing whating jade slate shilpa.

Anonymous said...

If there's a prize for "most misspellings in one post", you've won it.

Curious how Brown prefers shows based on prior deals leading to biased support and happy endings. Apparently.

As for Jermaine's "white trash" comment, I think Jade would the first to agree that she was brought up in a white, poor neighbourhood. Jermaine is also the only one sticking his neck out trying to heal the rift. That speech in the kitchen shown last night was one of the best things I've seen on television in years. There he is, surrounded by strangers who he has little in common with in terms of nationality, age, colour and upbringing and somehow he's trying to get working-class white Brits to understand and connect with a rich and successful Indian actress. That either takes chutzpah or bravery and I'm betting on the latter.

Shilpa can contradict herself all she likes as long as she doesn't make racist remarks. This is probably the very first time she's met working-class Brits and she's undoubtably quite shocked over how poorly Jade and Jack speak their own language.

Anonymous said...

The way i see it is that all three "Girls" have been totally racist even only if a sutle manner. The situation my have been over blown. We must stand together and make an example of these people as if young people watch this and see them nothing negative happing they may thinks it is okay to act in the same manner. People in the public eye have a moral duty towards society, and if they present themselves in a way that offend a people (in this case indians) they must be held accountable.

Anonymous said...


Problem there is that your comments are based on what Channel 4 in their wisdom choose to show you. We know that they hide the juicier parts or, in the worst case, misreport it (Jack did say the P-word according to YouTube and HolyMoly).

Good luck untangling the truth from the lies...

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting things to come out of this ugly business has been the three bullies' friends, families and PR teams rushing to explain away their comments. The explanation of Jo's words and behaviour are a good example. Also, take a look at the official statement from Danielle Lloyd's site to see what it looks like when a Spin Machine is cranked up to 11.

It's also interesting to see how, in the rush to plead that their clients aren't racist, these PR people are overlooking the fact that the three women have still shown themselves to be thoroughly unpleasant people. It reminds me of the Cheryl Tweedy court case. When the verdict was reached, she and her team made a big thing of the 'Not racist' verdict, completely overlooking the 'Still guilty of violently attacking a stranger' verdict.

Mikey said...

I couldn't find that clip on YouTube. It would have been nice if I could have - partly because I have developed a deep and abiding dislike of Jade & her trailer trash hangers-on and I would really like to have confirmation of their dimwitted racism but also because I have never heard that no-mark cock-lodge actually speak and I was sort of wondering what his voice sounded like.

If anyone find the video, could they post a link here?

Mikey said...

Unless you mean this of course. Which is vile enough, but hardly unequivocal.

ainelivia said...

If the Petition Online has any connection with Jodie Marsh, and her stout defence of her friend, Jo, then I'd be very cynical of this. Jodie Marsh has a vested interest in getting Jade Goody publicly humilated and appeared on two tv progs today to do just that.

Altruistic campaigner for human rights, Jodie Marsh, I think not. Unfailing pursuer of self-publicity, Jodie and Jade have that in common.

Anonymous said...

It makes you wonder why Britons are so slow to condemn Jade. After all, we're typically all to quick to assume the guilt of suspected murderers, paedophiles, burglars etc...

I've just blogged on the issue; let me know what you think:

Robert :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It's fascinating. This is, without bullying, and I would say the bullies have added racism to their arsenal. But, while not having the voyeuristic inclinations this stuff panders to, the dynamics between the people is riviting. I've seen Jade stricken to the core by Shilpa's direct hit. Jade feels inferior and insecure. Her hanger-ons blind her to that insecurity and she was defenceless when she was face-to-face with it. O'Meara is easily cowed (probably as a result of her own experiences of being bullied, mentioned by both her sister and ex-band members.) and I think, in this case, we were not seeing a dominated victim trying to reclaim control by 'owning' someone else. Besides her obvious unhappiness, there was that panic attack, too. While Jade's behaviour was clearly extreme, the worst of the three was the Lloyd one. She was estatic and gleeful in her attempts to try and destroy this rival for the spotlight. She only showed contrition after the producers rowed with her. ("...well, if you say I did, then I must have, but I didn't mean home 'home' - I'm not like that..."). That's the way it played out for the cameras but it was obviously the aftermath of a discussion that had taken place off-camera. So, the long and the short of it - bullying, envy and intolerence for the most part and racism when it's convenient. This is the British Isles (yeah, Ireland has no reason to be basking in that smug glow, I've lived in both societies) of the 21st century. However much you feel put upon by your circumstance at least you're not as bad as _________ THEM. Fill in the blank, you probably decided long ago who THEY are.

Anonymous said...

Apparently stormfront and fringe members of the BNP (and just think how racist you'd have to be to be fringe BNP) are asking people to go round highlighting this supposed "white trash" comment. Never happened. Leo, when asked, explained to Jermiane that in America Jade would be considered "white trash, like you'd see on Jerry Springer". Jermaine then relayed this to Shilpa.

Why am I not surprised that racists are using this instance to bleet on about all the horrid bigotry that white hetrosexual men HAVE TO SUFFER EVERY DAY?

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