When It Comes To Celebs, Why Do We Oscillate Between Cancel Culture And Fandom?

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Aryan Khan drugs case: The arrest of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan in a drug bust aboard a cruise ship has yet again divided social media into two groups – those who are cancelling Khan and his son, and those who sympathise with the duo. Mind you, the 23-year-old is in custody, but charges against him are far from being proved, however, social media can’t stop either trolling him or defending him. Seems like there is no in-between for us when it comes to controversies related to celebrities.

Aryan Khan was apprehended by Narcotics Control Bureau officers during a raid on a Mumbai-Goa cruise ship, early Sunday morning. Acting on a tip-off NCB officers carried out an undercover operation, boarding the ship as passengers and waiting for the party to begin, before starting their raid. The operation led to the yield of banned substances like MDMA, cocaine, MD and Charas. Khan was processed and arrested on Sunday afternoon with his friend Arbaaz Merchant, who was also onboard the ship. He was produced at the Holiday court in the evening and remanded to custody till the next day.

Ever since it was reported that Khan had been arrested, social media has been trolling the star kid for his privileged lifestyle. He was a VVIP guest at a high-end party. His bail hearing took place on Sunday evening, while other accused arrested alongside him would be produced on Monday. Many people also pointed out that a PR campaign will now be triggered by his influential parents and his allies to whitewash his image. Some said that this arrest would do nothing to hamper Aryan’s Bollywood career.

Towards Sunday evening the hashtag I Stand With SRK began trending on social media, as many of the actor’s fans and several Bollywood celebs began showing solidarity. “Has this young man killed anyone, attacked anyone, stolen anything, drunk while driving, caused an accident, cheated anyone, run a fraudulent Chit Fund? To target @iamsrk for his son’s silliness is anthr example of flops trying to bring an icon down #istandwithsrk,” tweeted a fan.

Surprisingly (or not), Aryan Khan is being pronounced guilty or innocent without a court verdict, as has been the trend on social media in past few years. We saw Rhea Chakraborty, Deepika Padukone, Rakul Preet Singh etc., go through the same mesh of online abuse and blind support when they came under NCB’s radar. Due process, what about it? Why can’t we simply let the law take its course before demonising a person or putting them on a pedestal? Is our urge to comment on any trending issue fuelled more by the urge of getting likes and retweets, or asking for swifter justice? Why do we trust the Indian judiciary so little?

We should be demanding that Aryan gets a fair trial like any other citizen and doesn’t get any kind of unfair advantage of having powerful parents. To defend or accuse him is not something we should indulge in, because that’s what the justice system is for and frankly it serves no purpose than giving validation to our personal views.

Indian social media needs to find a common ground between cancel culture and fandom, where logic, empathy and respect towards the Indian justice system can co-exist. Where the focus is on due process, equal treatment for all, not becoming judge, jury and executioner based on personal opinion.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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