back to article Big Brother housemate canned for racist slur

Student Emily Parr was this morning removed from the Big Brother house for using a "racially offensive word" to a fellow housemate, the BBC reports. The 19-year-old from Bristol got her marching orders at 3.30am BST after saying "Are you pushing it out, you nigger?" to Charley Uchea "while they were dancing in the living room …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least

    at least you have the decency to print the word nigger in full.

    Quite brave of you really.

  2. Andrew

    Thats about right...

    The (Imo) best looking girl kicked out already! argh

    I'm surprised they kicked her out if they werent going to show what happened.

    i spose it could of come up at any point like a ticking time bomb tho...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spineless C4

    I didn't see the incident, but I've read the transcript here:

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1269449,00.html

    It seems to me from the transcript (and the C4 statement) that she didn't mean to offend by saying "nigger"... so why should she be kicked out. Surely the intention is more important than the word.

    While the other two (Charley and Nicky) didn't seem offended, it seems from the transcript that Charley was aware that she could make some drama out of the incident.

    Personally I don't think anyone should be kicked out for offensive racist behaviour. Racism is an unfortunate fact of life in the real world and BigBro would be much more interesting if they actually used the opportunity to analyse racist behaviour rather than hide it.

    I don't understand why C4 were criticized for the Shilpa Shetty incident. It's hardly like Jade Goody and co were made to look good. It raised to profile of the issue of racism in our society, surely that's a good thing.

    It's a pity to see C4 making a stand on showing unnecessary pics of Diana's crash, and then bending over backwards to be PC when they could make a real stand by highlighting racism as a bad thing.

  4. lansalot

    boring tv...

    Now, it would have been worth watching had Charley said it. That would have been infinitely more interesting, especially watching the media's take on it.

  5. MrGutts

    Good

    Down with the crazy blonde's from the show.. :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most ridiculous thing..

    ..about the celebrity one was the whole accent impersonation thing. Seriously, people were offended by them imitating their accent? Would the same thing have happened if they had imitated a scouse, geordie or brummie accent? I don't think so.

    Sometimes you can be a bit TOO PC. Its a shame they kicked her out, and quite ridiculous I think.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC Knee jerk

    Looks like a bit of a knee jerk (which seems to be the in thing in the 00ies) after the criticism they received last year.

    If the 2 (chooses words carefully) darker skinned girls didn't take any offense from the phrase then I don't see the problem. After all, in some black cultures they regularly refer to each other with the same phrase, so it's all down to context, culture and tone of voice. For example, I can call someone a "f***ing idiot" in several tones and contexts. Some would raise a smile, others would get me punched in the mouth.

    As former BB resident Germaine Greer said on the BBC's Balderdash & Piffle show whilst repeating the C word many many times, It is just a word.

  8. Mad Mike

    Words

    This is another example of stupidity beyond belief. Using a certain word is not racist of itself. What is racist is the way in which it is said (including body language etc.), the intention and sometimes the way the target feels. The first two are the most important, with the last one being the least. The reason for this is that some people can find offense in the most stupid of ways, even about things that were clearly not meant to be offensive when viewed by others. This is true of racism, sexism or anything. The recipient is often the worst person to make the decision. How anyone could find a black bag offensive is beyond me, but in London they were for a while.

    As a society we are now so hyper sensitive to some words that it is actually counter productive. Valid racist, sexist etc. events can be ignored because of stupid overreaction to non-events or minor events. We should try to stamp out any form of abuse of any type, but must be very careful not to over react.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Spineless C4

    C4 were criticised by Ofcom because of the way they handled the situation. It was pretty apparent to everyone at the time that C4 relished the extra coverage the issue gained for their show. That Jade Goody & co were seen in a bad light was in no way down to the stance taken by C4, who just said "everything's fine, just harmless fun, keep watching".

    Given the format of the show, I don't see what C4 could have done in this case to "analyse racist behaviour". What further analysis needs to be done? Racism, in all its ugly forms, is unacceptable. End of analysis.

    The inevitably high profile of their latest action is as strong a statement as they could make that racism isn't acceptable. It's just a shame they've taken it because "once bitten, twice shy" rather than any genuine moral position.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Er...

    Anyone who's ever sat through this turgid nonsense will be aware that they drop the sound regularly and replace it with birdsong under the pretence of someone saying something controversial. Can anyone spot the problem here?

    Simple words do not racism make. It's the *intent* behind the words that do that. Political correctness means never having to do all that difficult thinking about the difference... All you need do is complain and the world fears you. Maybe we need to challenge this attitude more often, or is that being "ist" by default?

  12. Keith Turner

    It ain't P.C.

    "Didn't meant to" usually implies both that it's a fairly normal part of her language and that it may well be often used by her - just that her reality filters failed for once.

    Some of us don't look at black people and don't have the word 'nigger' as a usual term of reference.

    "Emily: I'm friendly with plenty of black people."

    or 'some of my best friends . .'

    Racism may well be 'part of life' but it isn't something to be excused.

    C4 has highlighted it by getting her out of the house.

    "Emily: It's not a big deal though is it?"

    Last time, Jo wotsit showed how her mind really worked as racist terms seemed to be 'normal' for her. Once the mask slipped there was something rather distasteful underneath.

    The phrase 'I'm not racist, but . . .' seems appropriate here.

  13. Ned Fowden

    yawn

    kneejerk reaction of course

    nanny state cutlture, must protect the minority that will be offended by something they're never going to show

    blah blah blah

    who cares, this show is 5 years past it's sell by date.

    why all the fuss over nothing

  14. Paul Buxton

    Reality TV?

    I agree with the comments above (Spineless C4). Intent is everything - a word cannot, in itself, be offensive. In fact, this "offensive" tagging is getting a little tired - I think it would be much more sensible if we were to prosecute the "offended" party for being too thin-skinned. In a country where we apparently have freedom of speech and freedom of expression why are people still allowed to play the "offended" card?

    For someone to be offended by something, that individual makes a conscious decision to be offended. It is entirely possible that someone could be offended by my words here even though I could claim that I was unaware and that no offense was intended. This isn't true, however. The fact is, I don't care if your offended by what I write or say - why should I?

    Big Brother purports to be a reality TV show so what's the problem with people being real?

  15. Dan P

    Title

    "I'm surprised they kicked her out if they werent going to show what happened."

    Why? If it didn't get shown did it not happen? Would it suddenly be erased from the victim's memory? I remember most of my life, and I'm fairly sure none of it has ever been televised.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only offensive when white people say it!

    The word 'nigger' seems to be a fairly open term with many black musicians using in their lyrics. I should clarify that when i say musicians i mean rap and hip-hop artists.

    So, since "black culture" is the new fashion, could the black community as a whole denounce this term from everyone, rather than only finding it offensive when white people use it.

    Racism seems to be a big issue, but what about the sexism that is going on in the house? I saw the one man in there being chased by several women trying to remove his clothes. Sure most men (including me) would find that fun, but if it were put on its head and it was a women in that situation there would no doubt be complaints.

    What is needed is some discretion in all matters construed as offensive and less knee-jerk reactions as they help no-one.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re - Spineless C4

    Channel 4 didn't really have a choice whether to kick Emily out or not. After the furore about Shilpa in the last Celeb BB and the subsequent trouble C4 found itself with Ofcom, to do anything else would most likely be televisual suicide.

  18. bambi

    and this wasnt expected in the 1st week?

    nobody saw this coming?

    I wonder how much Ch4/Endemol paid to get them to say it?

    "See we are doing our bit to stamp out racism"... CRAP!

    Its yet more free advertising for Endemol/Ch4, selective hearing.......

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that's a start

    If only the network would can the entire program for being offensive to everyone. And here I thought the US cornered the market on crappy TV shows. Score one for globalization.

  20. Tony Humphreys

    Mother F****r

    Mother F****r, that is whack

  21. Alan Davies

    Dammit!

    The best bottom has left Big Brother!

  22. Luke Wells

    Pathetic

    How can something said jokingly with no intent to offend be classed as racist?

    Spineless C4 and spineless United Kingdom.

    I remember back when I was at school, the head teacher, spent a day going from classroom to classroom telling us that we are no longer allowed to refer to the “Blackboard” as the blackboard and MUST from now on refer to it as the “Writing board” as apparently Blackboard was “offensive to coloured people”

    Who does this offend?

    If you make a derogatory comment about someone’s race, directed at them, then this could be said to be offensive to that person.

    If you say the word “Black” or “Nigger” to no-one then who is it offensive to?

    Am I a racist for typing “Nigger” in this sentence? Who am I offending and why?

  23. Ben Saxon

    Tough on words, tough on the causes of words

    So Channel 4 now seem pretty jumpy on the whole racism thing purely because of the massive backlash and seem to have taken a 'no-risk' stance on this one, despite the fact that it seems pretty clear there was no actual racist intent.

    Many people I have met use the word 'nigger' or 'nigga' as an ironic or humourous reference to its use in r'n'b/rap culture, which I can only assume is how this particular victim of modern British pop culture was using it. As a matter of fact, the word was used in such a way in the hilarious 'Nathan Barley', which was broadcast not that long ago on... Channel 4!

    Channel 4 are so fantastically inconsistent in their stance on almost everything now, I find it very hard to take anything they do seriously.

  24. Test Man

    Re: spinless c4

    Actually, it's the word that's clearly offensive, not the intent and the fact that she said it about a black person meant that her position was untenable, really. By kicking her out, they're showing it's NOT acceptable, whether it's part of real life or not. If she had said it in a quoting context, then fair enough. She didn't. So bye bye.

  25. Mr D

    Oh My God....

    You printed that word.. I can't belive it. I demand your site is shut down and removed from the world, you dirty animals you... you actually printed the word nigger..

    ... umm ... Now I have to be shutdown too... <click...... BLAM>

  26. sabroni Silver badge

    I hear that word all the time

    but it's only ever used as another term for mates or friends. HipHop is full of people saying nigger to mean friends, after you've heard it a couple of thousand times it starts to mean that.

    If you check the transcript, she's not the only person to say nigger, so surely it's racist to only evict her!

  27. Graham Marsden

    Slow news day...

    Obviously there's nothing else happening in the world if this makes headline news.

    Personally I think they should get American comedian Chris Rock on the next Celebrity Big Brother...!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Banning in this case is aiding and abetting

    BB could and should have simply blanked out the sound on the offending sentence, as it does for other offences, and taken disciplinary action either behind the scenes or eviction giving a general reason but without the need to mention the specific phrase that gave rise to the need for eviction. Had it done so, any damage would have been limited to the people actually in the conversation.

    But there was absolutely no need to fully document the incident in a manner which only exacerbates the problem.

    By doing so, BB has actually *itself* caused the problem by bringing it to a wider audience -- in other words, it has aided and abetted the problem in order to get it reported.

  29. Richard Mason

    Interesting to watch

    It'll be interesting to watch how the public react to the use of the word nigger in this case, because if there is an outcry over the use of the word here, I can forsee an even bigger controversy over the word in the near future. They are planning a remake the film The Dambusters, and not only is Nigger the name of Guy Gibson's dog (a black labrador) killed on the day before the raid, but because of that it was also chosen as the codeword to be transmitted when the dams were successfully breached. I can see there being a outcry if nigger is used in the film, and an equally big outcry if the PC brigade get it censored out of the film.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonderful

    Throwing Emily out is way over the top. What she said was wrong, but for a first offence, only needed a stern word in the diary room and an apology to Charley.

    I'd be scared to fart in the BB house, as C4 might throw me out for contributing to global warming.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm offended...

    ...the paper in my notebook is white. The lines in the middle of the road are white. The paint on the walls are white. THE BACKGROUND ON THE EL REG SITE IS WHITE!!!!

    Right, I'm going to sue the entire world on the grounds that as a white person, I find the liberal use of the colour white offensive.

    Anthony

  32. Steve

    Dambusters

    "I can see there being a outcry if nigger is used in the film, and an equally big outcry if the PC brigade get it censored out of the film"

    The word was censored for both dog and codeword (actually dubbed as Trigger) in the US showings of the original 1955 film, so I don't imagine the remake will be any different.

  33. John Munyard

    Hypocritical?

    Why is it utterly unacceptable for this girl to blurt out an offensive word at 3:30am in the morning on an edited feed, and yet acceptable for Channel4 to broadcast the incident in thier highlights programme tonight and make a "big thing of it" ?

    Anyone?

  34. John Bailey

    Here we go again.

    Its not so clear cut. Certain words being used in something like this can be offensive even if the parties directly involved don't take offense. And I include words other than Nigger or any other racial slur. No matter how it is meant. It contributes to the acceptability of the word or phrase, and then to the viewpoint behind the phrase.

    I use a wheelchair most of the time, and while I may refer to myself as a cripple in certain contexts, and I'm the first person to make a joke of my disability. I have been offended by people using the same word to refer to me. Even though it wasn't meant in an offensive way. And I'm by no means a militant crip, or in favor of PC over reactions. Words have a habit of influencing perceptions, so this is not something to be encouraged.

    The reality however is that this is yet another carefully exploited bit of PR. They can already blank out the soundtrack, and they could have reprimanded the people in question. This gets more newspaper coverage though, so this is the way they deal with the situation. The objective being to cover their own backsides and if they can get a few hundred more viewers, even better.

  35. David Trew

    Cash cow

    It's clear Emma made a mistake here - she wasn't some sort of 'D' grade 'celeb' saying the naughty word.

    Otherwise it would all have been hushed up, just to save the money from the phone-ins.

    If I remember right though, didn't the producers say they were not going to be making a profit from the phone-ins this time round, so even less reason to keep someone in this time for the eviction phone in tomorrow..

  36. Alex

    Big Brother was justified in removing Emily

    As outlined in Big Brother's rules, contestants cannot use language that viewers or other housemates may find offensive. The rules are there for a reason and contestants will be removed if they're broken. It's as simple as that.

    Although I agree with most of the comments made here, I also understand that some people COULD and WILL find what Emily said offensive.

    At the same time, however, I feel Claire (the housemate whom the word was said to) should ALSO be removed as she clearly re-iterated the language back to other contestants, including Emily. Big Brother did NOT make a mistake in evicting Emily but it did make a mistake in not removing Claire also.

    - Alex

  37. Daniel

    Chris Rock

    I'm glad someone brought him up. Go find a clip of him talking about niggers. He's a black guy that uses the work, not in a friendly context but actually to insult certain types of black people.

    What if he was in the house? Would they evict him, being a black comedian, saying that word?

    On a separate note - it was a big of a shame that in the post BB chat show (Big Brother's Big Mouth) they couldn't find a guest to disagree with their decision. That would have made for a more interesting debate.

    End of the day - I never watch Big Brother. Ever. I did tonight. C4 win.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The word nigger

    This is an old argument but...

    Two black people can call each other niggers and it's fine, nobody's offended. But if a white person (in this case) uses the same word in a similar context she's punished.

    Black people everywhere who use the word nigger... If you'd rather those who aren't black didn't, please stop referring to each other as niggers. This gives the impression that it's ok if we do it too (other races), as long as the context's the same (in a matey fashion).

    What happened to brother? It seems the word nigger is rivalling it, as the two are often used in the same context. Pick one, my suggestion would be brother.

    By using the word nigger, you're holding on to your past. Come on, you're brothers, not niggers. It's a disgusting word and by using it, you're increasing it's use not only amongst your 'own', but other races too.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Post 1945 Blues, 1860's Jazz

    Given the University culture of the post 20th Century i would say that the term 'nigger' or put in its current post-structuralist syntax 'nigga' is neither racist or offensive, at least not to the younger audiance. The fact is this is a term of endeerment, as well as a term used to gel members of a social group together it actually promotes equality, if of course used in this context. If Emily as a member of the BNP and said it in an aggressive drogotary tone surrond by other negative words in a sentance the situation would be very diffrent and C4 would of been fully entitled to remove her from the show.

    The real problem is the PC crusade is niether rational or self-analytical. It has been an issue ever since its inception sometime after WW2 when the western world had to deal with the philisophical and social realities of Genocide and the political fall out thereof . Problem is its gone too far and now mere mention of cultural difference or the parody/satire of a persons voice and or the use of a word that was once used as a racial slur but is not now used as such is grounds for punitive action against an individual. I say Freedom of Speech, Frederick Douglas would be abhorred, Liberty or Death !!! -blah blah

    "I'd rather be dead than a nigger working on one of those big farms" - Washington Robeling.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eh?

    What's Big Brother?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the worst thing about the whole sorry event...

    ... we have another weekly of hideous Shabnam!!!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Big Brother was justified in removing Emily

    > contestants cannot use language that viewers or other housemates may find offensive.

    Right, so every time a contestant says something that other people "may find offensive" they'll be evicted... yeah.

    If I was in the BB house now, I'd be in the diary room saying that everyone else had said things that made me feel offended. Victory would surely be mine.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charley Milked It

    I don't believe that Charley or Nicky were offended. I think they were surprised, but not offended.

    I also think Charley quickly realised that she could use the incident against Emily by making a big deal out of it. She tried to appear shocked and confused about her feelings, basically acting like she was offended but couldn't figure it out. She also tried to make other housemates aware of what had been said again to inflate the issue.

    If this is the case, I think it's sad that a black woman should try to sex-up a racism issue where there really was none. It's offensive to anyone who has really suffered from racism and degrading to those that have bravely fought against it.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it was, most likely, a quote

    Test Man:

    "If she had said it in a quoting context, then fair enough. She didn't. So bye bye."

    I believe it was likely she was quoting the phrase from something she had heard before. I think it would have been better to give her the benefit of doubt over the question of causing offence and just remind her to be careful, rather than react in a way like C4 did that most certainly will cause resentment.

  45. Luke Wells

    A solution

    This PC rubbish is getting rediculous.

    Lets make things simple. Lets ban all words that might be offensive to anyone.

    Personally I find "and" "the" "a" "bannanna" "one" "two" and "three" offensive so they should all be banned.

    ...... or maybe we could have some sort of freedom of speech?

  46. Chewy

    "but black people use it"

    while I don't doubt that it was said without malice the fact remains it is an offensive word to most black people. I wonder whether the same people who are defending the use of the word would be happy to hear a white person referred to as a cracker.

    it was a stupid mistake on Emilys part to assume that Charley would be comfortable with the word. if I used the word, thinking I was "street", to a friend I would deservably be punched in the face.

    Endemol are obviously trying to cover themselves from any flack as the celebrity series wasn't the first they tried to cover over racist behaviour - the unaired footage between Victor and Emma wasn't shown.

  47. Michael Corkery

    If it's generally accepted that itr wasn't said in a derogatrory or offensive fashion

    then the real fault lies with C4 for broadcasting it. Regardless of the level of punishment meted out, the reason the term is so contentious is that many people have suffered physical and verbal racist abuse, and for them this word will remain offensive or at the very least remind them of suffering bigotry.

    C4 shoudl have decided to punish or not based on intent, and also refrained from broadcasting the offending article!

  48. duncan parkertron

    47 comments...

    proof I say, that reg readers would buy Heat magazine if they weren't too ashamed to take it to the counter

  49. Doug

    Ebonics translation .. #2

    I guess my Ebonics translation didn't make it past the political correctness police .. :)

    What is it, run out of stories about inflatable girlfriends and interspecies sex .. :)

  50. Naiirita

    racism?

    is not having a word(or action) that ppl of one race can say(or do) and another race can not the very definition of racism?

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