Unaware of the international diplomatic row that has broken out, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty has voiced her concerns of racism in the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Media regulator Ofcom is investigating a record-breaking 20,000 complaints about her treatment on the show and both the prime minister and chancellor have commented as the dispute causes protests in India.

After a huge row with Jade Goody  one of the celebrities under fire for supposed bullying  Shilpa told fellow contestant Cleo Rocos that she felt racism was behind her treatment.

"I'm representing my country. Is that what today's UK is? It's scary. It's quite a shame actually," she said.

After Cleo said that she did not think there was anything racist in it, Shilpa responded: "It is, I'm telling you."

Channel 4 producers have denied that there is "overt racist abuse or racist behaviour" in the house and insisted that such behaviour is not tolerated.

But it admitted that there has "undoubtedly been a cultural and class clash between Shilpa and three of the British females in the house".

In what will No Doubt push the programme's ratings even further since the controversy began, Jade and Shilpa are set to go head to head in the next eviction.

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire police has confirmed that it is investigating two emails sent to Channel 4 which made "unspecified" threats about a number of the housemates.

Labour MP Keith Vaz tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons objecting to the comments made about Shilpa by her other housemates.

He is calling on Channel 4 producers to take "urgent action to remind housemates that racist behaviour is unacceptable".

Housemates Jo O'Meara, Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd have made derogatory comments about Indians' food and how they eat while Jackiey Budden, Jade's mother, could not say the Bollywood actress' name properly and referred to her as "the Indian".

Carphone Warehouse is said to be reviewing its sponsorship of the Channel 4 programme.

Boss Charles Dunstone told the Times newspaper: "Clearly we are against racism."

Jade has been dropped as a patron by the charity Action Against Bullying for her actions in the house.


18/01/2007 09:23:30