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British ‘Big Brother’ player ousted for racism

Emily Parr, a 19-year-old student, was removed from the show after using a derogatory term about a black contestant Wednesday night, broadcaster Channel 4 said Thursday. The remark was not broadcast live.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A contestant on the British reality TV show “Big Brother” was kicked off the show after allegedly using a racist slur.

Emily Parr, a 19-year-old student, was removed from the show after using a derogatory term about a black contestant Wednesday night, broadcaster Channel 4 said Thursday. The remark was not broadcast live.

Channel 4 was forced to apologize two weeks ago after regulators ruled the “Celebrity Big Brother” program broke broadcasting rules by airing footage of racist insults being hurled at Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty.

The January incident sparked a firestorm of international protest, while Britain’s broadcast regulator received a record 44,500 complaints.

Channel 4 said Parr regretted the outburst and that she had spoken carelessly rather than maliciously. But it explained that in light of the reaction drawn by the previous show, it had no choice but to expel her.

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“In the wake of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ we must consider the potential offense to viewers regardless of Emily’s intentions and her housemates’ response,” Channel 4 said in a statement.

The program — created by Endemol NV in the Netherlands in 1999 and produced in dozens of other countries — features a group of contestants who are confined in a house for several weeks under constant camera surveillance. Viewers evict the contestants one by one until someone is chosen as the winner of a cash prize.

The show’s tense, claustrophobic atmosphere has proven endlessly fascinating to audiences across the globe, while contestants’ unscripted outbursts have regularly drawn controversy and scorn.