More problems for Big Brother on Channel 4 and Alan Sugar accused of sexism after apprentice quits - June 2007
After the uproar over the serial mocking of an Indian Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty, 31 in the British reality TV Celebrity Big Brother show in January 2007 (see news report) the Celebrity Big Brother winner was in Sheffield on the Thursday 7th June for Saturday's International Indian Film Academy Awards.
At the same time Channel 4 television acted swiftly to prevent a rerun of the damaging racism row in January by removing a contestant from the Big Brother house for using offensive language. Emily Parr who is a 19 year old drama student from Bristol was evicted within hours of using a racist term on black housemate Charley Uchea. Although Angela Jain the head of the show's commissioning team at Channel 4 conceded that she had not intended to be offensive, she said the word was used "carelessly rather than maliciously".
Shippla Shetty commented that she was glad than Channel 4 had taken action. Channel 4 was then criticized for broadcasting the offensive exchange of words on the edited highlights programme.
The present series of The Apprentice on BBC1 television is drawing to a close. The winner will be rewarded with a £100,000 job in Sir Alan Sugar's £800 million business empire. The series started with eight women, three of them single mothers taking on eight men is now fighting off accusations that the tactics used were unfair against the women candidates.
Sir Alan has been accused of breaching sex discrimination laws when interviewing contestants. The TUC and the Equal Opportunities Commission were among those who warned that the show was sending the wrong signal to business after mother of two Katie Hopkins was quizzed about her children. Kate Hopkins finally bowed out of the show saying she did not want to uproot her family. A fellow contestant Kristina Grimes who has an 18 year old son was also asked about her family circumstances. (in the final Kristina Grimes "Apprentice favourite" was beaten by former English public schoolboy - Simon Ambrose).
General Secretary of the TUC Brendan Barber said "The Apprentice is just a show but had last night been a genuine interview, Kristina and Katie could have had real grounds for complaint against Sir Alan. Any employer who asks only the female candidates about how their children and personal circumstances may affect their ability to do a job could find themselves in hot water."
Jenny Watson the Chair of the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) said " Sir Alan is well aware that women with children can be every bit as successful in business. It might make for great TV, but the programme sends an unfortunate message to other employers that questions about commitment and childcare only apply to women"
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