Of all the silly, irrelevant non-issues ever to have gained public attention, this one has to take the fruitcake.
Never mind that the GoI should have better things to do than waste its time getting indignant about UK television shows . Never mind that saying something nasty to a person of a particular race doesn't automatically imply racism. Never mind that this Shetty woman is obviously acting (who knew she had this much talent?) and that the whole thing is a carefully planned piece of fiction in the first place. Never mind that the woman is on the show voluntarily and could always leave if she's feeling unhappy. Never mind that anyone who signs on to be on reality television is, by definition, a loser who will do anything for publicity, so expecting civilised behaviour from these people is a contradiction in terms. Never mind that it's idiotic to fight a TV show by giving it more publicity and that the producers of the show are probably sitting around this very minute trying to figure out how they can make this controversy last, because their viewer numbers have never looked this good.
It's Television. TELEVISION. This means a) it's NOT real and b) it's supposed to be idiotic and to shock you in the crassest, most obvious way possible. That's what television (especially reality TV) is about. Can you imagine a reality show where everyone sat around and behaved graciously and politely to each other and played tiddly-winks? Who would watch a show like that? In fact, who would watch a reality show where the participants weren't pathetic human beings whom you could compare yourself to and feel superior? Isn't that the whole point of the genre? Complaining that they're not behaving decently is like griping about how the Rambo films have too much violence.
Here's my suggestion: If you find Big Brother offensive, turn off your television sets and read a good book instead. Not only will this mean you'll have a more meaningful experience, leaving reality TV shows to the brain dead troglodytes they're meant for, it's also the most effective way to make the producers of the show sit up and listen.
 What's next, I wonder? Are we going to demand that George Clooney be put on trial because of that scene in Syriana where a couple of Indian immigrant workers get beaten up by the police? Are we going to threaten the US with nuclear strikes the next time a US film critic describes Aishwarya Rai as wooden and talentless, since that is clearly a racist slur?
Update 1: Reading through the discussions of this 'issue' in the media and on the blogosphere, it seems to me that what we're seeing is a demonstration of the addictive power of television, which I've blogged about before. In that post, I point to a considerable body of research which demonstrates that television watching is highly addictive, despite the fact that television delivers little or no real enjoyment and may, in fact, be associated with malaise. These studies argue that the reason people continue to watch television is because it creates the illusion of engagement with the real world - that people become unable to distinguish between what is real and what's on television.
That, I think, is exactly what's at play here - here are a bunch of well-meaning people who find what they're watching deeply unpleasant but can't seem to find the will-power to turn it off. And because they're afraid to admit to their dependence, and because they no longer see or acknowledge the difference between a fictional portrayal and a real event, they insist on making the whole thing an issue. It's a fascinating pathology.
(Self-deprecating Personal Note: While I find reality television itself unspeakably dull and annoying, I find the reality of people's engagement with television great fun to watch. There's an irony in there somewhere.)
Update 2: I'm also intrigued by the phrase 'racist bullying'. What has one got to do with the other? Are we to assume that bullying is okay as long as it's not racist? Go ahead and beat up the kid who's smaller than you and steal his lunch money, but for god's sake, make sure he's the same race as you first? Or would it be okay if they were racist but were more civil about it? I wish people would stop confounding the two things.
Update 3: It's been brought to my attention that Ms. Shetty may not, in fact, have known what she was letting herself in for and may not be able to exit the show now because of contractual obligations. Personally, I don't think she's that dumb, but I suppose it's possible. I'm not aware, however, of any evidence that suggests that Ms. Shetty has tried to exit the show and no reason to believe that she wants to or is being constrained from doing so. For the record, though, if she does in fact, feel trapped, and wants to get out, I see some merit in helping her do so, or in having her sue Channel Four for emotional harm caused by incomplete disclosure. Just spare me the crocodile tears.