A foul-mouthed tirade by Big Brother contestant Conor McIntyre against fellow housemate Deana Uppal has attracted claims of bullying and around 1,000 complaints to Ofcom, a spokesperson for the broadcasting watchdog confirmed.
Over 350 of the objections were received immediately after the show was broadcast in its 9pm to 10pm slot on Channel 5 on Monday night, with the remainder coming after midnight.
The complaints concerned the reaction of Conor McIntyre and other housemates to fellow contestant Deana Uppal’s failure to complete an eating task.
As Uppal struggled to keep down tinned ham covered with hot sauce, Arron Lowe shouted "It's time for your Oscar, the cameras are rolling!", later saying "Stupid b***h, keep that girl away from me!"
McIntyre picked up Uppal’s electric epilator and shouted: "Get your epilator and stick it up your a**e", before launching into a further tirade of aggresive swear words.
"I'm gonna play loads of pranks on her,” he told fellow housemates. “F***ing piece of s**t, I don't give a f*** if I'm pulled up to the Diary Room."
When asked what he would do if Uppal threw water over him, McIntyre said he would punch her. Uppal was left in tears following the incidents.
McIntyre's comments prompted producers to call him into the diary room and warn him about rules on threatening language and aggressive behaviour in the house.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Channel 5 said: “Housemates are closely monitored at all times in the Big Brother house and following Conor’s reaction to Deana failing the food-based task he was immediately called into the diary room, warned and reprimanded in accordance with the programme’s procedures."
They said McIntyre had subsequently apologised for his behaviour. "Having spoken to Conor, and bearing in mind our duty of care to the other housemates, we are satisfied that he should continue to participate in the programme,” the statement said.
While there has been no indication of any racial element to the abuse, many Twitter commentators following the programme referenced the events of the 2007 series of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 4, in which Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara ganged up on Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, leading to the show's suspension.