The National Women’s Commission has issued a notice to Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, asking him to explain his sharing of a meme mocking Aishwarya Rai. He has now deleted the tweet and issued an apology, hours after defending the meme and slamming Sonam Kapoor for calling it disgusting.
In a letter, the NCW referred to media reports that he had drawn a sly comparison between the poll result and a woman’s personal life. The letter said that the meme carrying the picture of Aishwarya Rai and her daughter was extremely offensive, unethical, and showed disrespect towards the dignity and respect of women in general.
— NCW (@NCWIndia) May 20, 2019
Soon after this, the actor defended the post and said that he was ready to speak to the NCW and clarify that there was nothing wrong with the meme.
Vivek Oberoi speaks on Sonam Kapoor's reaction to his tweet (on exit polls), "…Aap apni filmon mein thoda kam overact karein aur social media pe thoda kam overreact karein. I've been working in women empowerment for 10 yrs now. I don't think this is hurting anyone's sentiments" pic.twitter.com/pOWAwO29N6
— ANI (@ANI) May 20, 2019
However, he deleted the tweet this morning, and said, “Even if one woman is offended by my reply to the meme, it calls for remedial action.” He also said, “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.
— Vivek Anand Oberoi (@vivekoberoi) May 21, 2019
The actor has been facing a backlash on social media from many celebrities and others. Sonam Kapoor said the meme disgusting and classless, to which Vivek said: “Don’t overact in your films, and don’t overreact on social media.” Actors Kriti Kharbanda and Urmila Matondkar, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, badminton player Jwala Gutta and others also slammed him.
Not ok. Just. Not. Ok. https://t.co/scskSFURg5
— kriti kharbanda (@kriti_official) May 20, 2019
Very disgraceful and in extreme bad taste of #VivekOberoi 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.
— Urmila Matondkar (@OfficialUrmila) May 20, 2019
Dear @vivekoberoi, never expected such tweet from u. The trolls may go to any extent and make memes but u as a responsible celebrity should be careful of hurting anyone's dignity. Would request u to apologize and delete the tweet. https://t.co/lfJgWiWphF
— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) May 20, 2019
I'm astonished at your sense of humour @vivekoberoi how can u find this anywhere close to funny,
Pls have some respect for women,kids and your seniors?
P.S. Not a smart way to promote your film ? pic.twitter.com/PRdC8SWxa2
— Karanvir Bohra (@KVBohra) May 20, 2019
What a shame @vivekoberoi ur a father too. Imagine if someone some day does exactly the same thing to ur daugther how will u feel rather than been a good human being and condemning it u are praising the person.. This is sick.
Didn't expect u of all too stoop so low. https://t.co/iHliWBKmiG
— RiA (@RiaRevealed) May 20, 2019
Get over it. This meme isn't about you and you know it well. Your disguised and sly attempt of popularizing this crass graphic on aishwarya can only fool some dumb folks here. Jerk!
— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) May 20, 2019
— Shuchi Singh Kalra (@shuchikalra) May 20, 2019
— Aishwaria (@aishwaria_s) May 20, 2019
Meanwhile, many have pointed out that the NCW has been unresponsive about many women’s issues, and there were more important things to take action against.
With greatest respect, Ma’am. Vivek Oberoi tweet is disgusting, silly and he should immediately apologise. However, the National Commission for Women (NCW) should be engaged in far more important issues for women in the country rather then get involved with such an issue. Thanks https://t.co/Z1YmFJ6zKR
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) May 20, 2019
#NCW have a huge responsibility of protecting rights of women all across the nation. While many critical issues remain unnoticed by this body,raising the #VivekOberoi issue points to a huge irresponsible nature of this organisation.This body is in a dire need of reform. pic.twitter.com/AJ74ovLyuj
— ᴅᴀʀᴋ ʜᴏʀꜱᴇ (@Amitksingh45199) May 21, 2019
Aishwarya Rai has not responded to the controversy. She is currently at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in France, while Vivek Oberoi is awaiting the release of his biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directed by Omung Kumar, on May 24.