Vivek Oberoi is in news again, and for all the wrong reasons possible, again. The Saathiya actor is being lambasted on social media for sharing a crass meme making fun of his ex-girlfriend Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The memed showed pictures of Aishwarya with her exes Salman Khan and Oberoi, representing opinion and exit polls of elections respectively, while her photograph with her husband and daughter representing actual election results. Rai is now married to Abhishek Bachchan and is mother to a seven-year-old girl. Vivek Oberoi is married himself and father of two children, and yet he indulged in such juvenile humour.
- People are criticising Vivek Oberoi for sharing a meme which demeans his ex Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
- Many are defending Oberoi saying that his tweet is “harmless.”
- But this meme also features Rai’s seven year-old daughter, who doesn’t belong in this conversation.
- While Oberoi may have apologised, one wonders if he seriously understands how his tweet was damaging to Rai.
The meme Oberoi shared uses Rai’s past as a template and makes fun of the sharp change (read degradation) in her choice in men.
However, many are also defending Oberoi’s tweet, calling it harmless and just some self-deprecating humour. After all, the meme does make fun of him. But we cannot overlook the fact that his self-deprecation comes at cost of Rai’s dignity. It is she who is at the centre of this meme, which apparently just wants to depict the drastic difference there is in opinion and exit polls and the actual result of the elections. It uses Rai’s past as a template and makes fun of the sharp change (read degradation) in her choice in men.
Oberoi shared an intimate relationship with Rai at one point of time. He stood up in an act of heroism against an industry bully for his love, which cost him his career. Empathy and sentiments for those whom you have ever loved fervently seldom die. Even if your relationship ended on bad terms, people with some level of maturity do not cross a certain line in maligning their exes. Even after all these years, Oberoi should have shown respect towards Rai and her choices. It isn’t easy for women to live with their love lives in this country, where men can joke about romance while women still face character assassination.
This isn’t about humour, because this isn’t a society where there are similar standards to judge men and women’s characters. While Rai needs no protection from the likes of Oberoi, the meme he chose to share reflects poorly on him. It somehow shows that he has failed to move on, in a healthy way. Because if he had, he would still have held Rai in high regards and criticised this meme, instead of sharing it on social media.
Empathy and sentiments for those whom you have ever loved fervently seldom die. Even if your relationship ended on bad terms, people with some level of maturity do not cross a certain line in maligning their exes
Oberoi has now deleted the said tweet and even apologised. But his apology comes after he spoke to media and said, “People are asking me to apologise. I have no problem in apologising, but tell me what wrong have I done. If I have done something wrong, I will apologise. I don’t think I have done anything wrong. What’s wrong in it? Somebody tweeted a meme and I laughed at it.” Thus his apology now seems like an afterthought, with the intent plug the backlash coming his way.
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
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
Does he sincerely feel sorry for his tweet? That is hard to say, considering he openly said that he didn’t find anything wrong with the meme. In his interview to ANI Oberoi has claimed that he has apparently rescued 2200 girls from child prostitution and forced labour, also providing them free food, healthcare, education etc and thus “empowering” them. But does “rescuing” so many girls give him the right to insult a woman? Doesn’t he know that empowering women isn’t just about rescuing them and uplifting them, but also showing respect to every woman’s dignity? No amount of good work gives anyone the agency to put a child in the loop which demeans her mother.
Oberoi has every right to share any meme on him and it would even have been cool, had it been self-deprecatory. But he has not right to share material which degrades a woman and pulls her young child into a debate where she doesn’t belong. Even if she is his ex, he is in the wrong for being nasty to her so publicly.
Picture Credit: Screen grab from ANI/Twitter
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.