Twitter Updates

Richard Gere kiss sparks India protests

Actor Richard Gere has sparked protests in India after kissing Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty at an Aids awareness rally in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI (AP) - Angry crowds in several Indian cities are burning effigies of Richard Gere.
It's happening after Gere swept a popular Bollywood actress into his arms and kissed her several times during an AIDS-awareness event. Photographs of Gere embracing Shilpa Shetty and kissing her on the cheek at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Delhi were splashed across front pages.
India is a country where sex and public displays of affection are largely taboo.
In Mumbai, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks and set fire to glamourous shots of Shetty.
Similar protests have broken out in other cities.
The two appeared at a news conference in New Delhi on Sunday to highlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic among India's truck drivers. In front of a cheering crowd, Gere kissed the giggling Shetty on the hand, then kissed her on both cheeks before bending her in a full embrace to kiss her cheek again.
"This is a bit too much," Shetty said after the embrace.
On Monday, Shetty tried to stamp out the controversy.
"I understand this is his culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such manner," she told the Press Trust of India news agency.
"I understand people's sentiments, but I don't want a foreigner to take bad memories from here," PTI quoted her as saying.
The spokesman for Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata party, condemned the kiss.
"Such a public display is not part of Indian tradition," said Prakash Javadekar, according to PTI.
Shetty, already well-known in India, became an international star after her appearance on the British reality show "Celebrity Big Brother" - another controversial public appearance.
A fellow contestant, Jade Goody, sparked international headlines by making allegedly racist comment to Shetty. Mobs took to the streets of India to denounce Goody, and Shetty went on to win the competition.

No comments: