Big Brother UK sparks outrage over 'racist', 'abusive' contestants

<i>Big Brother</i> UK sparks outrage over 'racist', 'abusive' contestants
Racism row: Big Brother UK's Conor against Deana.
Images: Channel Five

Fresh claims of racism and abuse have dogged the latest UK version of reality show Big Brother, just a month before the Australian reboot of the controversial series hits Channel Nine.

More than 1200 complaints have been made to British media watchdog Ofcom about three incidents from the show, The Guardian reports.

In one of the offending incidents, a contestant described his black housemate as a "ridiculous gorilla … with no sanitation". Another incident saw one ex-contestant call housemates "functioning retards" on Big Brother's Bit on the Side program.

But the incident that received the most complaints involved Miss India UK Deana Uppal allegedly being bullied by housemate Conor MacIntyre.

More than 1100 viewers complained about Conor's behaviour towards the 23-year-old model, in which he launched an expletive-ridden tirade at her, calling her "a piece of s---", and later threatening to punch her and put her electric hair remover "up her a--e".

Ofcom are investigating the incident, which recalls the 2007 Celebrity Big Brother racism row in which UK reality star Jade Goody bullied Indian celebrity Shilpa Shetty.

As a result of the controversies, a lucrative $3 million deal with sponsor Schwarzkopf is at risk.

A spokesperson from Big Brother's Channel Five told Guardian that the broadcaster "will help facilitate a speedy investigation".

Last week, a Twitter follower was arrested for making a racial slur against Deana on his personal page, found by online racism watchdog Racism Reporter.

Let's hope the ugly behaviour doesn't cross the line when Aussie Big Brother returns August 13.

View our slideshow of the most racist and culturally questionable moments in showbiz:

Related video: Big Brother Australia's housemate auditions

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