Racism, or Entertainment, on 'Celebrity Big Brother'?

Back in the United Kingdom, other politicians have not hesitated from jumping on the bandwagon. Labor MP Keith Vaz -- who's of Indian origin and represents a largely South Asian constituency -- brought up the issue in parliament, calling "on the program to take urgent action to remind housemates that racist behavior is unacceptable."

Speaking to ABC News, Vaz said that in one day alone, his office received more than 250 e-mails protesting Shetty's treatment. "You can't walk away from racism," he said, adding "this show is racism masquerading as entertainment."

Today the show's broadcaster, Channel 4, issued a statement refuting these claims, saying that Shetty was not a victim of racism but was actually caught up in a "cultural and class clash."

The actress's mother and publicist also addressed the media in Mumbai, India, saying that they had "complete faith in Channel 4 that they will not allow any mistreatment of Shilpa to take place."

Some viewers would maintain that the mistreatment has already taken place. Kalpana Moorthy, a London psychologist, is one of many who called and complained to Channel 4 about the show's recent episodes. "When I moved to the U.K. 35 years ago, these are exactly the kinds of things people said to me," Moorthy told ABCNews. "And I worry that plenty of those people and their children are enjoying Jade Goody's racist, bullying antics, cheering her on."

But not all Asians living in the United Kingdom feel the same way. Raja Narayan, a retired businessman who has lived in Great Britain since 1972, finds the behavior of Goody and her compatriots not racist as much as founded in "a general lack of understanding about India and the Indian way of life. The show has done us all a favor by bringing this issue into the open, where it can be discussed."

In the meantime, after Wednesday's massive row, both Goody's and Lloyd's spokespeople have issued statements denying that their clients are in any way racist.

For Goody, though, this rebuttal may have come a little too late. The Perfume Shop -- a nationwide chain of stores -- has already withdrawn her celebrity fragrance from the shelves despite its outselling scents promoted by Britney Spears and Sarah Jessica Parker.

And the show's chief sponsor, Carphone Warehouse, suspended its sponsorship Thursday, saying it did not wish to be associated with claims of racism.

But one outcome of all this fuss has been a massive increase in the audience numbers for "Celebrity Big Brother." Although the show has received a record 20,000 complaints, its audience jumped by 1 million in a single day to nearly 4.5 million viewers Tuesday.

And British bookmakers, Ladbrokes and William Hill, have made Shetty the favorite to win this year's contest on account of -- well -- public sympathy.

It seems like everyone's a winner in the world of reality television, if not reality itself.

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