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Indian actress Shilpa Shetty wins Britain's 'Celebrity Big Brother'

UPI News Service, 01/29/2007 

British viewers crowned Indian actress Shilpa Shetty winner of "Celebrity Big Brother," which faced charges of racism directed at Shetty as the show aired.

The 31-year-old Bollywood star said she was surprised that she won the public vote, adding that her experience on the "reality" program was "incredible and overwhelming," the BBC said.

Shetty, who won 63 percent of the phone-in vote, thanked the viewers for "a fantastic opportunity to make my country proud." Jermaine Jackson, brother of pop star Michael Jackson, was second in the final balloting.

During the season, thousands of viewers complained that several housemates made racist comments to and about Shetty. Two of the housemates later apologized.

"People make mistakes and we're all human beings, we're all fallible," Shetty said of one former housemate.

At the height of the controversy, the Office of Communications, the government media watchdog, received more than 40,000 complaints about the alleged racist bullying on the show. Effigies of contestants were burned in India in protest and several British government officials called for an investigation into the allegations.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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