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British 'Celebrity Big Brother' sponsor pulls out after racism charges

UPI News Service, 01/18/2007 

The sponsor of Britain's "Celebrity Big Brother" has pulled out following allegations of racism toward Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on the show.

Carphone Warehouse said its decision to suspend sponsorship of the show was immediate, the BBC said Thursday.

The sponsor's move follows a demand that Channel 4, which runs "Celebrity Big Brother" respond to complaints about the show. "Clearly what is happening is very serious," said Office of Communication's chief executive Ed Richards. "An allegation of racism is very serious."

A record 30,000 complaints have been registered with the government office and Channel 4 over alleged racist remarks toward Shetty. Three of her housemates have been accused of racist behavior.

Shetty Wednesday told a housemate that she feared she was being targeted because of her race.

In a statement, Channel 4 said there had been "no overt racial abuse or racist behavior," despite viewer complaints. However, Channel 4 said there had "undoubtedly been a cultural and class clash between her and three of the British females in the house."

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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