Dropped deals, troll attacks for celebs who speak out

Dropped deals, troll attacks for celebs who speak out

Recently, actress Swara Bhaskar spoke about the ill-treatment meted out to celebrities who dared to make a stand. Speaking about how their families, business associations and upcoming projects are targeted by trolls who are just waiting to be offended, Swara pointed out when retribution was so swift and severe in India, actors don’t feel safe while voicing out their opinion. PTI file photo

From incredible to intolerant, India was rather quick in upgrading its portrayal on the world stage. Brickbats, both figurative and literal, seem to be in store for anyone who dares to voice their opinion on topics deemed ‘sensitive’ by the conscience-keepers of the society. 

But silence is not golden for all. People in the public eye have been routinely called out for ‘not speaking’ on certain pressing issues and movie stars form the major part of this much-berated group.

Recently, actress Swara Bhaskar spoke about the ill-treatment meted out to celebrities who dared to make a stand. Speaking about how their families, business associations and upcoming projects are targeted by trolls who are just waiting to be offended, Swara pointed out when retribution was so swift and severe in India, actors don’t feel safe while voicing out their opinion.

Fair enough, we say! While Meryl Streep can get away with roasting the President on a stage as big as the Golden Globes, Indian actors aren’t even allowed to protest against rapes. 

Take a look at some celebrities who faced the wrath of trolls for championing causes or speaking their minds on issues close to their heart.

Swara Bhaskar

When she took part in an online campaign against the gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, the reactions were violent. People trolled her for hurting ‘religious sentiments’ and asked retail giant Amazon India to end its association with her. 

A campaign #BoycottAmazon and asked users to delete the app. The company buckled and deleted a  tweet featuring Swara’s endorsement. The troll army asked everyone to boycott Swara’s latest movie ‘Veere Di Wedding’. However, the movie went on to become one of the highest-grossing hits of the year.

Chetan 

Kannada actor Chetan’s support for the politically-sensitive issue of a separate Lingayat religion resulted in rage against his movie ‘Athiratha’.

While a social media campaign was launched against the actor, members of a right-wing organisation vandalised posters of his movie and appealed to members of the public not to watch it in Bengaluru. Theatres playing his film were attacked.

Siddharth

When he took to Twitter to voice his opinion about the recent strike in the Tamil industry, he also spoke about the preferential treatment given to certain films.

Though Siddharth did not take any names, fans of actors Vijay flooded his timeline with expletives and memes, since ‘Thalapathy 62’ was one of the few films allowed to continue shooting. Side note — During the Chennai floods, Siddharth co-ordinated relief activities in the city by tweeting out advice, listing down supplies needed and guiding volunteers. 

Aamir Khan

He was trolled and threatened when he spoke about the growing communal intolerance in the country. Dozens of activists burnt posters featuring Khan in several cities. While he issued a clarification later on, the statement cost him his role as the ambassador for the government’s ‘Incredible India’ campaign and an endorsement deal with Snapdeal after an online campaign to boycott the company because of its association with him gained momentum. Earlier, his film ‘Fanaa’ did not release in Gujarat when he spoke out in favour of the people displaced because of the Narmada dam.

Sunny Leone

When Sunny Leone and Daniel Weber embraced parenthood for the second time by adopting a pair of twins, the online troll factory went into overdrive, churning out memes, comments and threats to the couple. Sunny’s past was a major bone of contention for these oh-so-concerned citizens.

Zaira Wasim

Many accused her of orchestrating a publicity stunt when she put out a video about the sexual harassment she faced on a flight. PS: She has acted in two superhit movies, which have received critical acclaim as well as commercial success besides fetching her national awards for her performances. The young actor really does not need more publicity people.

Sri Reddy 

Credited with bringing the conversation about the rampant sexual harassment in the Telugu movie industry out in the open, albeit with a somewhat shocking mode of protest, the artiste faced rape and death threats. The Movie Artistes’ Association also banned her, only to revoke it later. 

Radhika Apte

Known for impeccable acting skills and unconventional roles, Radhika was targeted when she spoke about the Telugu film industry being ‘patriarchal’ and ‘male chauvinist’. Apart from being attacked quite viciously online, her statements were also condemned by producers and artistes in the industry.

Rishi Kapoor

He started a Twitter war against the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban beef in the state by tweeting that he is a ‘beef eating Hindu.’ Before that, the outspoken star got intro trouble when he expressed his displeasure over many public places being named after members of the Gandhi family. In reply, the Congress named a toilet after him, besides staging a protest outside his home.

Nana Patekar

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena led by Raj Thackeray attacked veteran actor Nana Patekar after he criticised their drive against hawkers. Effigies and posters were burnt religiously. On a side note,  Patekar has been donating money to widows of farmers in Maharashtra for some time now and has been helping farmers financially through an NGO he co-runs with actor Makrand Anaspure.

Women actors fight back

Four women actors resigned from the artistes’ body AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) after actor Dileep, accused of abduction and assault by a co-actor, was reinstated with all honours. Branded trouble makers by industry insiders, these actresses are Rima Kallingal, Ramya Nambessan, Geetu Mohandas and the survivor. Actors Revathy, Padmapriya and Parvathy, also voiced their protest. While there have been no verbal threats and phone calls, these leading ladies say they are being avoided. Fortunately they have been able to find work in other language industries.

Actor Padmapriya has gone on record to say that the fear of one’s career must not stop people from supporting the truth. While she admitted that “there will be ripple effects at work, this is required in order to progressively evolve...”

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