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INDIA

Actor Siddharth apologises to Saina Nehwal

Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN actor Siddharth on Tuesday (11) issued an apology to ace badminton player Saina Nehwal after being accused of making sexist remarks against the latter in response to her observation on the recent controversy around the alleged compromise of the security of prime minister Narendra Modi in Punjab.

Taking to Twitter, the actor posted an open letter in which he called the Olympic medallist his champion and said he was trying to crack a joke with his original remark, but conceded it “didn’t land”.

Nehwal responded to Siddharth’s apology saying the matter is “about women” and wondered why the latter changed his stance after making the controversial comment.

“He only said it and he is now apologising. I was surprised to see myself trending on Twitter that day. I haven’t spoken to him but I am happy that he apologised,” the 32-year-old badminton star said on the sidelines of the ongoing India Open in New Delhi.

“See, it is about women, he shouldn’t target a woman like that but it’s okay, I am not bothered about it, I am happy in my space and god bless him,” she added.

Siddharth identified himself as an “ally” of the feminist movement. In the letter, he wrote, “Dear Saina, I want to apologise to you for my rude joke that I wrote as a response to a tweet of yours, a few days ago. I may disagree with you on many things but even my disappointment or anger when I read your tweet, cannot justify my tone and words. I know I have more grace in me than that.

As for the joke… If a joke needs to be explained, then it wasn’t a very good joke to begin with. Sorry about a joke that didn’t land.
“I, however must insist my word play and humour had none of the malicious intent that so many people from all quarters have attributed to it. I am a staunch feminist ally and I assure you there was no gender implied in my tweet and certainly no intent to attack you as a woman. I hope we can put this behind us and that you will accept my letter. You will always be my Champion. Honestly, Siddharth,” he added.

In his now-deleted original tweet, Siddharth commented on Nehwal condemning the alleged breach of the security of Modi in the poll-bound northern state.

His remark was criticised by the National Commission for Women chairperson, Rekha Sharma, who sought suspension of his Twitter account. She also threatened to take up the matter with the police.

Nehwal, who is a member of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party since January 2020, said, “Yeah, I’m not sure what he meant. I used to like him as an actor but this was not nice. He can express himself with better words but I guess it’s Twitter and you remain noticed with such words and comments.”

Her father Harvir Singh Nehwal also blasted Siddharth over his remark and sought an apology from him.

Eastern Eye

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