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I made racist comments against Shilpa: Jade Goody
January 21, 2007 17:30 IST
Last Updated: January 21, 2007 17:32 IST
Disgraced reality TV star Jade Goody has confessed that she had made racist comments against Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother even as the fate of the show hung in balance with the board of Channel 4 meeting on Monday to discuss whether it should be axed after the present series ends this week.
Goody, 25, told the News of the World in an interview published on Sunday, "I'm not a racist, but I accept I made racist comments. I don't see people for the colour that they are, or where they come from. I'm mixed race myself and I speak to everyone of every colour, background and nationality. I don't care about where people are from."
To a pointed question whether Shilpa was a victim of racism and bullying, Goody said, "She was a victim of bullying and racism, yes. I can understand why she would have said that (at the height of the tension Shilpa told Cleo she thought Goody was racist).
Asked what she has to say to the Indian community, Goody said, "I do want to sincerely apologise to anybody of any ethnic region or any race-- white, black, Indian or anything else. I'm so sorry."
Meanwhile, several members of the board -- chaired by Luke Johnson -- former head of Pizza Express, now believe last week's allegations of racism have so discredited the show that it is doing immense harm to the channel and damaging race relations, the Sunday Times said.
'Does this sort of programme still hold up today', asked one senior board member about Big Brother this weekend, the report said. 'Britain's race relations are still pretty fragile, so we must be very careful'.
On Monday, the board, whose members include Lord Puttnam, the film producer, Tony Hall, the former head of BBC News, dotcom entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, and Karren Brady, managing director of Birmingham city football club, will ask for a paper to be drafted quickly to explore what went wrong last week and to examine whether the programme should be ended.
'Is the franchise dying now', asked another board member on Saturday. 'It certainly seems to be. Left to its own devices-- that is, a so-called normal Big Brother without any manufactured row-- it seems to be dying on its feet'.
Goody will get no payment for the interview to News of the World and her 50,000 pounds fee will go to charity-- along with every penny of her 50,000 pounds Big Brother fee.
The 100,000 pounds total will be divided between good causes nominated by Shilpa and Jade Goody, the report said.
Asked how she could justify the comments she made to Shilpa, Goody said, "I'm not going to justify my actions because they were wrong. I was shocked to see how I behaved. I was shocked and disgusted at myself. I don't know why I said those things to her or why those words came into my head. I wasn't thinking a nasty thought. I'm not making excuses because I know that it's wrong. Maybe I'm just really stupid and nasty at heart. But I really don't think I am."
Reminded about her remarks against Shilpa that she made her feel sick and made her skin crawl, Goody said, "I can now see how that's been interpreted, that people think I hate her, but I promise to God that if I was a racist I wouldn't have kissed her, cuddled her or ate her food."
The Archbishop of York John Sentamu said during a lecture in London that he feared the programme had revealed a wider problem.
"Sadly ignorance is not in short supply. Racism is real," he said, explaining he had been reminded of Martin Luther King's famous dictum that ignorance is the root of all prejudice.
"As the week's events on reality television demonstrate, there is an ugly underbelly in society, only too ready to point the finger at the foreigner, or those who might not fit in," Sentamu said.
The Daily Mirror newspaper criticised programme producers, saying the show had been a 'shameful exercise in manipulation'.
Publicity surrounding the racism row drove viewer figures to a record high for the show's current run, with 7.8 million people tuning in, the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board said.