Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 15:48 UK

Big Brother cleared over Coolio

Rapper Coolio fell out with former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton

This year's Celebrity Big Brother did not breach broadcasting rules despite hundreds of complaints about rapper Coolio, Ofcom has ruled.

The majority of the 527 complaints related to the star's behaviour, with some accusing him of sexist bullying.

Some viewers felt Coolio was negatively stereotyped as an aggressive black man.

Ofcom said Coolio was the "villain of the piece" for many but that "such a role, after 10 years of Big Brother, is generally expected by the audience".

Ofcom said the series complied with the rules because "any potentially offensive content that was shown and the manner in which the friction and the arguments were handled and presented by Big Brother on behalf of Channel 4, were adequately justified by the context".

'Intimidating' behaviour

Coolio's treatment of former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton drew criticism after he continually taunted her for allegedly having feelings for housemate Ben Adams.

Ofcom pointed out that Heaton and Coolio were talked to separately in the diary room and said the rapper appeared genuinely disconcerted when told that some of his behaviour could be seen as intimidating.

The pair later apologised to each other.

Channel 4 said it was pleased with the ruling.

"Conflicts can arise within the Big Brother house, but both the producers and commissioning editors encourage housemates to work differences out amongst themselves initially," it said in a statement.

"Channel 4 has robust procedures in place to safeguard housemates' welfare and avoid any harm or offence to fellow housemates or viewers, and Big Brother will intervene as and when necessary."

The ruling is in stark contrast to two years ago, when Ofcom found that Channel 4 was guilty of "serious editorial misjudgement" over its handling of the now infamous race row.

The treatment of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty by housemates Danielle Lloyd, Jo O'Meara and the late Jade Goody became an international issue in 2007.

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