Contestant thrown off UK Big Brother TV for racism

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A contestant on the latest series of Britain’s Big Brother television show was thrown off the show on Thursday for racially abusing another housemate.

British Big Brother contestant Emily Parr in an undated publicity photo. Parr was thrown off the show on Thursday for racially abusing another housemate. REUTERS/Channel 4/Handout

Student Emily Parr, 19, was removed from the house just days after show bosses were forced to apologize for a racist row on the show’s celebrity version.

Parr was removed in the early hours after she was heard to say: “Are you pushing it out, you nigger?” to black contestant Charley Uchea, 21, Channel 4 said in a statement.

Parr said she did not mean the comment to be offensive and Uchea said she had not taken it personally but was shocked at the language used.

The incident comes after this year’s “Celebrity Big Brother” was overshadowed when eventual winner, Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, was racially abused by other housemates.

Channel 4 said the Parr-Uchea exchange was not screened live and was immediately reported to senior production staff who took the decision to remove Parr from the camera-filled house on the grounds that she had broken the rules governing behavior.

Angela Jain, who heads Channel 4’s Big Brother commissioning team, said viewers would agree that the comments were careless rather than malicious.

“She (Parr) understands why her involvement in Big Brother has had to come an end and she very much regrets what she said,” Jain said in a statement.

Parr had been up for eviction from the house after being chosen to be one of two housemates who would have to face a public vote.

Channel 4 was ordered by the TV regulator Ofcom to issue an apology for its handling of the row over its celebrity version of the popular television format before the eighth series of the reality show kicked off nine days ago.

“In the wake of Celebrity Big Brother, we must consider the potential offence to viewers regardless of Emily’s intentions and her housemates’ response,” Jain said.

“The word ‘nigger’ is clearly racially offensive and there was no justification for its use. We have removed Emily from the house to once again make it clear to all housemates and the viewers at home that such behavior won’t be tolerated.”