Over the past few hours, social media has witnessed turmoil over a tweet. Vivek Oberoi tweeted a meme showing Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Salman Khan about 24 hours ago. It was related to the current exit poll scenario in the country.
For those in the dark, there is a flashback of many years ago. Vivek Oberoi had come out into the press alleging that Salman Khan had spent an entire night calling him 41 times. Each call was allegedly a threat against Vivek Oberoi regarding his then ongoing relationship with Aishwarya Rai. Years went by and the beauty queen further moved on and married Abhishek Bachchan.
Cut to 2019 – here is what the Twitterati had to say about Mr. Oberoi’s meme
Well, nobody took this lying down. A large chunk of the Twitter community and the world at large were appalled by the meme posted by Vivek Oberoi. Even members of the film fraternity, such as Sonam Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar, as well as director Madhur Bhandarkar and sportsperson Jwala Gutta, strongly voiced their angst against this unacceptable meme. Within hours, he has also been served notices by the National Commission and Maharashtra Commission for Women.
While Sonam Kapoor called it “disgusting and classless”, Urmila Matondkar wrote, “Very disgraceful and in extreme bad taste of Vivek Oberoi to put up such a disrespectful post. At least show the decency to pull off the post if not apologise to the lady and her little girl.”
Cut to this morning – Vivek Oberoi deletes the Tweet and apologises
This, however, came after almost a day of being defiant and making hay of his exit poll meme.
“Sometimes what appears to be funny and harmless at first glance to one, may not be so to others. I have spent the last 10 years empowering more than 2000 underprivileged girls, I can’t even think of being disrespectful to any woman ever. Even if one woman is offended by my reply to the meme, it calls for remedial action. Apologies tweet deleted,” the actor tweeted this morning.
It is funny what people try to get away with on social media. The whole point of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and so on, is to connect people with each other. A part of connecting is also sharing their news, views and life updates.
However, there have been a number of cases of character abuse and assassination across such media. Women and men have fallen prey to memes, videos, and photographs, each maligning them in some form or the other. In some countries, posting such material is considered as a criminal act.
In India, we have always been strong believers in freedom of expression. But at what cost? Is it alright for a self-obsessed celebrity to cater to his past resentments? That too against a married woman with a child? Agreed, there was a past, but two of the people in the meme have moved on in life in their respective ways.
Clearly, Vivek Oberoi has not.
A justification of being philanthropic, and providing for 2000 underprivileged girls, cannot hold weight for being brutal.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely of the author and not Yo! Vizag.