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'Big Brother,' Endemol and Shilpa Shetty
Last uploaded : Wednesday 17th Jan 2007 at 17:08
Contributed by : Carol Gould


Below is reprinted an excerpt from an article written in August 2006 about thirty years of keeping one's dignity in the midst of anti-Semitic and racist sniping.

What is so ironic is that JE Entertainment, the Dutch company that became 'EnDeMol' and who present 'Big Brother,' had many complaints about my Jewish connections and were deeply unhappy about my having a black secretary when I worked with them in 1991-92. She in turn complained to Westminster Council Race Relations officers. The Writers' Guild of Great Britain also had a serious complaint against JE Entertainment. I complained to the then ACTT, now BECTU.

Shilpa Shetty, a star of Indian cinema has been needled this week by her 'Big Brother' housemates about her accent and cooking. Ten thousand viewers have complained to the British television network that broadcasts the programme. Riots have eripted in an Indian city. MPs have been complaining.

For those of us who were at the helm of British Television during the golden age of Drama and Documentary and who saw our hard work evaporate to make way for deplorable material like 'Big Brother,' there is a feeling of satisfaction that perhaps at last this demeaning drivel will disappear from our screens forever.

The latest news on this story may be read at:

Excerpt from:
What Exactly is Anti-Semitism?
by Carol Gould
August 2006

The Editor has been recuperating from illness and has taken time to reflect on thirty years of life in Britain. In order to deflect the usual handful of letters from Anglo-Jews insisting that we 'imagines' nasty incidents or 'exaggerates' our perception of anti-Jewish abuse, we attach below a link to a scholarly article written a year ago by the distinguished writer Robert Wistrich about the spread of anti-Semitism in mainstream Britain, the world we have tried to inhabit but with increasing hostility and intimidation. Our Editor is in the USA and would not have taken the trip but to escape from the rhetoric all around her.

Wistrich's article corroborates our views and can be read at:

Over the past year the expression ’anti-Semitism’ has begun to be used at an alarming rate, culminating in the comment by the traditionally decorous Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks of the United Synagogue of British Jews that we are experiencing a ‘tsunami of anti-Semitism.’

Notwithstanding the fact that my native United States has had, and is still experiencing its own share of ugly waves of anti-Semitism, it has been necessary for me to turn my thoughts to personal experiences.....

Things became nasty when I was poached by a Dutch TV conglomerate, JE Entertainemnt, later to become 'Big Brother' Producer EnDemol. To my utter disbelief, they made endless jokes about Jews in the office. When I was asked what I would like to do for leisure whilst in Amsterdam, I replied that the first thing I wanted to do was to visit the Anne Frank House. My colleague said ‘I have lived in Amsterdam all my life and have no desire to visit this Anne Frank House.’

After that my colleagues became cold and distant. The Jewish jokes stopped but then the tactics changed: I was asked, when we walked past Minsky’s at Lord’s Roundabout ‘ This is where I guess you eat every day?’ The final straw came when I was ordered to work on Christmas Day. I explained that in the UK this was a holiday for everyone but I got a fierce telling off about it not being my holiday. Anti-Semitism? And how. The same company drove my black secretary, Roberta to distraction with their outrageously racist comments (‘She must not sit in our chairs -- she will make them smell.’ ) Such behaviour would have been unthinkable in 1990s USA.

The executives who visited London from Amsterdam seemed to have a particular antipathy towards Jews attending local synagogues in the Netherlands. I heard all the old mantras about the big noses poking out of the fur coats and the limousines. But it was their abject hatred of Roberta that was so alarming. One day I had to stay at home because I had contracted gastric flu. Some executives were visiting from Amsetrdam and Roberta told me she could handle everything. The next day I was given a dressing down about 'letting someone who looks like that be the face of Joop van den Ende in Britain.'

Eventually she took them to the Westminster Race Relations officer and I lost my job by refusing to fire her for being black. But my conscience was clear..

A longer article on this topic may be read at:



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