Big Brother row – Mayor of London statement

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said today:

‘The racism towards Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother is completely uncacceptable. The company producing Celebrity Big Brother, Endemol, is editing down 24 hours of coverage to one hour and it is therefore clear they have deliberately chosen to broadcast participants’ racist comments. The programme makers should instead explicitly warn participants that such behaviour is unacceptable and contestants making racist comments will be evicted.

‘The attitude we have seen taken towards Shilpa Shetty is not only wrong but is the the exact opposite to the approach that London takes towards the different cultures that exist in our city. All cultures are welcome in London, and we do not ask anyone to give up their culture or background in order to be welcome and to contribute to the city and its prosperity. The treatment meted out to Shilpa Shetty is totally opposite to such an approach.

‘Racism is not only unacceptable in itself but undermines London’s prosperity – India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and London has not only a moral, but a directly economic interest, in making Indian people and their culture feel comfortable and welcome.’

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Name: Ben McKnight