Arrested for a kiss?

gereshetty.jpg
This is ridiculous.

An Indian judge today issued arrest warrants for Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty for contravening the country’s public obscenity laws by embracing and kissing at an Aids awareness event, a report said.

Not only are people totally freaking out about this in India, including burning effigies of Gere (wtf) but Shetty is being constructed as the “virgin” of the Hindu nation (who must be protected from the nefarious influence of Western influence, which, I think is too late to do, since she was on the UK version of Big Brother, but I digress). I mean I understand inappropriate displays of affection may make some people uncomfortable, but to make such a huge media spectacle out of it is a little over the top. It must be a publicity stunt.
Thanks to Tze from PublicAddress for the heads up.

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21 Comments

  1. caiis
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    That is just silly.

  2. Posted April 27, 2007 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Richard Gere didn’t have to bend her like that, but this whole thing is silly.

  3. Antahkarana
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I cracked up when I read about this. Really, as whiny as everyone’s being over there, PDA is still a huge cultural no-no and it would have been nice of him to respect that much even a little bit. I don’t know about painting Shilpa out to be a virgin and all that, I never really got that sense from all the hype–just some HILARIOUS Hindu fundie crap about how he ruined our “delicate sensibilities”. Riiiight. Delicate *thumbs through copy of kama sutra*. My DAD got arrested when he tried to kiss my MOM in a public beach there and they nearly gave him a beating (screw effigies, man) until my mom rushed forward and proved they were together (flashed her ring). All he had to do was pay a fine. When my parents heard about this story, they really felt for the guy.

  4. GayAsXmas
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I feel sorry for Shilpa. She came out of Celebrity Big Brother in the UK looking intelligent and classy and now one snog from a hapless former A-List movie star and she is back embroiled in controversy. At least this time she didn’t have Jade Goody screeching like a racist banshee at her

  5. natmusk
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I’ve read that often times these law suits are brought up by lawyers who are looking for a bit of publicity as well.
    Cultural Norms are something that you should be aware of when entering another country but she has not apologized and said that if the kiss has attracted attention to the benefit for AIDS than she is glad that it happened. I view it was a slightly silly waste of time but we live in a country where they show “Girls Gone Wild Ads” at night…

  6. jacqui583
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I saw this reported on the news this morning, and they said that an arrest warrent has been put out for Shilpa because she didn’t “resist strongly enough”. Now THAT’S disgusting!

  7. Caitlyn
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The lawsuit aside (I agree – a publicity matter), I was uncomfortable watching Gere manhandle Shilpa Shetty in that embrace and kiss. It seemed that in a rush of adrenaline and testosterone, Gere gave no care to her or her obvious discomfort. To me, it was a display of the same attitude that leads other men to more pronounced violence against women.

  8. Posted April 27, 2007 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I agree, Caitlyn. The kiss made me uncomfortable as well, because she looked so uncomfortable. I always think with these kind of events, if two celebs are going to do a kiss, they really need to talk about it before hand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen men just “go for it” for a laugh at awards shows or whatever and the woman looks like she doesn’t want to be there, but there’s cameras everywhere, so she doesn’t want to curse the guy out.
    That being said, I don’t think that there should be an arrest warrant or that he owes an apology to the country, even if he should have respected customs more. He should apologize to Shetty.

  9. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, anyone that watched the actual video for this can see that Shilpa Shetty wasn’t exactly thrilled. It looked like your typical “I’m not comfortable with this but if I object too much, the situation is going to be even MORE uncomfortable, so I’ll just nervously laugh it off” type deal. Kind of like the chuckle I gave the man in Home Depot yesterday who approached me and literally said “now THAT’S sexy! A woman with a hammer!” For reals.

  10. BEG
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Well, now. Kind of like Bush and Merkel, eh?
    Bah. Men.

  11. Posted April 27, 2007 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    yes, thank you caitlyn – that was my reaction too. and while i agree that the aftermath is ridiculous, i saw exactly what SoyMilk did, which is perfect encapsulation of the all too common female phenomenon of The Uncomfortable Laugh. so sad, that it is so often the only reaction women feel they can get away with in the face of something undesired and uninvited.

  12. Fenriswolf
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    “Yeah, anyone that watched the actual video for this can see that Shilpa Shetty wasn’t exactly thrilled. It looked like your typical “I’m not comfortable with this but if I object too much, the situation is going to be even MORE uncomfortable, so I’ll just nervously laugh it off” type deal.”
    Precisely! My bf and I were watching this clip on the news the other day and were both like “How has nobody noticed that she’s clearly very uncomfortable with this?”
    Western media was talking about “just a kiss on the cheek” – he practically groped her arse and kissed her NECK. How goddam creepy is that?

  13. EG
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Ugh, yes. When I first saw this video all I could think was “What is wrong with him? She doesn’t want him to be doing that!”
    Obviously, death threats are not the way to go. I wouldn’t mind a misdemeanor called “unwanted touching,” though.

  14. Posted April 28, 2007 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    I am with the others whom this video made rather uncomfortable. I expected more of a reaction defending her against what I did think was almost a manhandling. What has truly shocked me was that I have seen footage of Indians burning effigies of HER as well. Wtf?

  15. Mina
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    “I am with the others whom this video made rather uncomfortable. I expected more of a reaction defending her against what I did think was almost a manhandling. What has truly shocked me was that I have seen footage of Indians burning effigies of HER as well. Wtf?”
    Maybe, instead of feeling sorry for her for being mishandled, they feel personally dishonoured that she was mishanded and think that if she does away then their honour will be restored…?

  16. Mina
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    “I am with the others whom this video made rather uncomfortable. I expected more of a reaction defending her against what I did think was almost a manhandling. What has truly shocked me was that I have seen footage of Indians burning effigies of HER as well. Wtf?”
    Maybe, instead of feeling sorry for her for being mishandled, they feel personally dishonoured that she was mishanded and think that if she goes away then their honour will be restored…?

  17. Posted April 28, 2007 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Gere’s behavior was boorish, but typical of upper-class “enlightened” progressive men. This is why I have bad vibes about Hugo Schwyzer, even though he hasn’t really done anything to earn them. I’m profiling, I guess. I’m not a very nice person.
    As someone who does a lot of PDA–if it were illegal down here, I’d be a lifer–I am always careful not to impose unwanted “affection” on somebody. That’s a control thing. I’m a hugger, but if somebody else isn’t a hugger, then that means a handshake. Period. I don’t press the issue because I know that I have no rights over other people’s bodies and other people’s personal space.
    I have inadvertently given unwanted hugs to people before, and gotten more careful about that over the years, but I can’t imagine doing what Gere did to anybody unless I was damn sure she was kosher with it. What was he thinking?
    Why Shilpa Shetty is being targeted like this is beyond me, though. What was she supposed to do–slap him at an AIDS fundraiser? Good grief. Islamic fundamentalists don’t have anything on these guys.
    Cheers,
    TH

  18. prairielily
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I can think of a few examples of this. Bush and Merkel… Clay Aiken and Kelly Ripa… and now this.
    The problem is that it’s seemingly acceptable ANYWHERE to invade a woman’s personal space.

  19. RachelInga
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    This is mindblowingly idiotic. If you are so “uptight” (can’t think of a more appropriate word now) about kissing, how the hell can you be effective trying to teach about how not to get STDs?

  20. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    RachelInga,
    It’s perfectly possible to talk about how not to get STDs while also being against non-consensual kissing or sexual touching of any kind. As a matter of fact, I think a healthy, comprehensive sex-ed courses includes things such as the importance of mutuality when engaging in physical affection or sexual touching of any kind.

  21. Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    RachelInga: Try repressed.

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