In this file picture taken 09 February 2004, former Miss World and Indian actress Aishwarya Rai and actor Vivek Oberoi pose on the set of the movie "Kyon Ho Gaya Naa ?" (It Happen Right?), in Bombay. (Photo by SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi on Monday faced the wrath of social media users including Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor, actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar and India’s National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma over sharing a “distasteful” and “crass” meme targeting Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s relationships.

Oberoi, who reportedly dated the actor-former Miss World in early 2000s, posted a meme with three panels, one with him, another with Salman Khan and a third with her husband Abhishek and daughter Aaradhya on Twitter.

The meme was a take on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the results of which will be declared on Thursday.

“Haha! creative! No politics here… just life,” Oberoi captioned the photo and credited the Twitter account that shared it.    Social media was quick to blast the actor, who is currently promoting his upcoming film “PM Narendra Modi”, over his “distasteful” tweet.       “Disgusting and classless,” Sonam tweeted.

Matondkar, who is a Congress candidate from Mumbai North, called out the actor for not having the courtesy of pulling down the tweet despite widespread criticism.

“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,” Matondkar tweeted.

The NCW (National Commission for Women) sent a notice to the actor asking him to give an explanation for sharing the “insulting” and “misogynist” tweet.

“This tweet is absolutely disgusting, distasteful, and degrading a women. @NCWIndia will be serving notice to @vivekoberoi,” NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted.

In their notice, the NCW said the actor should not have carried a minor girl and a woman’s picture for a sly reference.

“You have made insulting and misogynistic post on twitter carrying picture of a minor girl and a woman. It has been reported that you had drawn a sly comparison between the poll result and a woman’s personal life,” the notice by NCW read.  A similar reaction came from the Delhi and Maharashtra chapters of women commissions.

“It is hardly hilarious. It’s crass, disgusting and reveals the sick mentality of its ‘creator’@vivekoberoi. Evident that the man lacks everything – political as well as life skills,” Swati Maliwal, chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, said.

Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson Maharashtra Women’s Commission, said they will send a notice to the actor for his tweet, which is “disrespectful towards women”.

“What he has tweeted cannot be considered as ‘creativity’… He is a responsible actor and we did not expect this behaviour from him. We have taken a note of this and we will be sending him a notice to him,” Rahatkar tweeted.

NCP’s national spokesperson Nawab Malik said Oberoi must apologise for his tweet or else face the consequences.

“Film celebrities who support the BJP are crossing a line. The way Vivek Oberoi has tweeted about the exit poll, disrespecting a woman is not right. Women’s commission must take cognisance of this and not stay asleep. When women are treated with such utter disrespect, the public will get angry. If he doesn’t apologise, he will have to face the consequences,” Malik said.

He said women commissions and the police should take necessary action against the actor for “disrespecting” a woman.

“It won’t be right if the government doesn’t take any action. So we want the government to take a note of this, lodge a complaint and arrest Vivek Oberoi,” he said.

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit also slammed the actor.

“Dear Vivek Oberoi, this is absolutely distasteful on so many levels. How can you call this cheap remark ‘creative’ in any way? Didn’t expect this from an otherwise cultured person like you,” Pandit tweeted.

“It’s very shameful. It’s as simple as that. He shouldn’t have done that. It’s absolutely not cool,”  said actor Anupam Kher.

Such was the anger about the meme that Vivek’s name started trending on the microblogging.

“I thought it’s a troll account. Shame on vivek,” the tweet read.

Another post said the actor should have at least thought twice about dragging a minor, Aishwarya’s daughter, into the controversy.

“?Please don’t spread this pics its demeaning to a woman and a torture to her child too! Please its a humble request! #VivekOberoi #NarendraModi,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure #AishwariaRai chose a man with character. This is really cheap. There’s a fine line between Humour and Insult to individual. Increase your Celeb status to 1 per cent of what she’s Achieved at least. Disgusting @vivekoberoi #VivekOberoi (sic)” another user tweeted, pointing out at Oberoi’s chequered career.    Oberoi remained unavailable for a comment despite multiple attempts.

Oberoi apologised for sharing the meme and deleted the controversial tweet after being severely criticised on social media.

Meanwhile, Aishwarya is in Cannes for the prestigious film festival.


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