Shetty treatment

A Bollywood star gets the last laugh after a reality show appearance causes a "global race row"

By Kerry Lauerman
Published January 29, 2007 5:59PM (EST)

Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty could never have expected to become the focus of, as the BBC put it, a "global race row," when she agreed to star on the "Celebrity Big Brother UK." But Shetty became the target of some nasty, race-charged language on the show; one castmate refused to learn her name, and would refer to her as "the Indian," and another referring to her as "Shilpa Poppadom" and "Shilpa Fuckawala." But the nastiest comments seem to come from Danielle Lloyd, a dim, disgraced former beauty queen (she lost her 2004 Miss Great Britain crown for posing for Playboy) who claimed Shetty "wanted to be white," and cautioned castmates from eating her food. "They eat with their hands in India, don't they? Or is that China?" Lloyd said. "You don't know where those hands have been." But the most infamous incident was when (below) Lloyd referred to Shetty as a "dog" behind her back, then kissed her ass moments later. Even by the dismal standards of American reality TV, it was an amazingly repulsive performance.

Ah, but Shetty -- and the public, which registered over 50,000 complaints to the network over the show -- had the last laugh. Shetty won with 63 percent of the public's vote, easily beating runner-up Jermaine Jackson (yes, that one).


Kerry Lauerman

Kerry Lauerman is Salon's Editor in Chief. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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