IPL cheerleaders complain of racism

Last Updated: Fri, May 23, 2008 04:43 hrs

London: One of the two black British cheerleaders, allegedly prevented from performing at an Indian Premier League (IPL) match last month, says the "N word" (negroes) was used to describe them, a tabloid newspaper reported Thursday.

A number of British newspapers on Thursday carried the story about dancers Ellesha Newton, 22, and Sherinne Anderson, 25, claiming they were stopped from going on stage by organisers ahead of a match involving Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.

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Newton told The Sun newspaper: "An organiser pulled us away. He said the people here don't want to see dark people.

"The 'n' word was used and they said they only wanted beautiful white girls. We were crying. I could understand if it were the crowd but they were very receptive."

Anderson, 25, added: "This kind of thing has never happened to us - not in Europe, not here, nowhere.

"We were offended. This shouldn't be happening - especially after they made such a fuss over Big Brother."

British celebrity Jade Goody was accused of making racist remarks about Indian film actress Shilpa Shetty in the reality show Celebrity Big Brother last year, causing outrage in India.

Organisers Wizcraft International Entertainment deny any knowledge of the incident.

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A spokesman for Wizcraft said: "Our employees are trained to deal with our international clients. If there had been any racial discrimination, I would have received a complaint. But I know nothing of it."

The girls had been hired by Fierce Performance Productions which has offices in London and Mumbai.

Director Jorge Aldana said the girls were eventually allowed to take part as cheerleaders after he intervened with local officials.