Britain's Big Brother Facing Probe
OFCOM, Britain's television regulator, has launched an investigation of the British version of Big Brother after receiving more than 1,200 complaints from viewers who charged that it encouraged bullying, racist remarks, and demeaning epithets, according to the British wire service Press Association. In one episode that generated 114 complaints, one of the Big Brother housemates referred to another, an African-American man, as a "gorilla." She was immediately taken to task for her remarks and apologized, but some viewers tweeted that she should have been ousted from the Big Brother house. The show's principal sponsor, Schwarzkopf, a maker of hair-coloring products, has told Britain's Guardian newspaper that it is monitoring the OFCOM investigation and has not ruled out the possibility of canceling its $3-million sponsorship. A spokesperson noted, however, "We are prevented by law from influencing editorial content or policy as this responsibility rests firmly with the makers of the show."