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Indian-origin actress suing BBC for racism

Friday, 28 March 2014 - 9:30pm IST | Agency: IANS

An Indian-origin actress is suing BBC for up to one million pounds ($1.6 million) for a racist remark made by the host of a popular motor show, media reported Friday.

Somi Guha, 36, has instructed her lawyers to take action after Jeremy Clarkson, host of the programme Top Gear, made the racist remark during a series finale, the Daily Mail reported.

Clarkson allegedly used the word "slope" - a derogatory term used for people of Asian descent - in the Top Gear Burma Special.

Guha consulted lawyers at Equal Justice who said this could cost the BBC up to 1 million pounds. 

According to Equal Justice, Guha is one of a group of people who were offended by the term and so sought legal advice from the firm, which previously worked on racism allegations surrounding reality show Celebrity Big Brother. 

According to the report, a BBC spokesman said the corporation has no comment to make on Guha's action. In the series finale, the three hosts - Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson - are tasked with building a bridge over the river Kwai in Thailand. 

After completion of the show, Clarkson, 53, said, "That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it" as a man walked towards him on the makeshift bridge.

Co-presenter Richard Hammond, 44, replied: "You're right, it's definitely higher on that side." This left viewers outraged with Twitter users describing it as "not big, not clever, not funny" and "a gag too far". "Casual racism in the media by established BBC stalwarts is constantly brushed aside," the Mail report cited Guha as stating in a written complaint to the BBC."Discrimination within the industry is accepted. Racial profiling of roles is accepted and expected," she added. "I find it offensive that Jeremy Clarkson refers to people of different races in pejorative terms."

She wondered what message this gave to children and stated: "...that it's OK to bully and make racist comments." "Jeremy Clarkson has made derogatory comments about Mexicans. Now he bullies an Asian person. It has to stop," she said. 

Guha, according to the report, will now have to apply to a county court under the Equality Act.

In a letter on behalf of Guha to Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC, Equal Justice writes of Clarkson: "He and the show must be censured to ensure that another race or nation is not targeted."

As an actress, Guha is known for her roles in the 2006 science fiction movie 'Children of Men' and in hit ITV show,' The Bill'.


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