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Ofcom website crashes due to flood of Celeb BB complaints

LONDON - The number of complaints registered by the public to Ofcom over allegedly racist comments directed towards 'Celebrity Big Brother' contestant Shilpa Shetty by other housemates has caused the media regulator's website to crash.

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The number of viewers complaining about the show to Ofcom reached more than 20,000 today, many of them online, causing Ofcom to publish an announcement on its website.

It said: "Ofcom are currently receiving very high volumes of complaints alleging racism in Celebrity Big Brother 7. Visitors may experience delays or intermittent problems when trying to submit complaints."

The furore was sparked by a number of verbal attacks on Indian housemate Shilpa by fellow celebrities Jade, her mother Jackiey, now evicted from the house, boyfriend Jack, former Miss Great Britain Danielle and ex-S-Club star Jo O'Meara.

Shilpa has been asked whether she lived in a shack and her accent has been mocked by Jade, and when she made food for the group, Danielle said: "You don't know where those hands have been."

Allegations that a bleeped-out comment by Jack referred to Shilpa as "a Paki" have been denied by Channel 4, which claimed the word he used the 'c' word.

Haran Sold, vice-president and managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Keynote Systems, the website quality measurement firm, said: "The problems Ofcom are experiencing is a classic case of 'flash crowds' - where an event or news story evokes a fast and overwhelming increase in the number of users attempting to access a web site."

The total number of complaints to Ofcom and broadcaster Channel 4, which screens the show, hit the 30.000 mark today.

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