‘Hypocrites’: Bollywood actors slammed over George Floyd stand
Same actors seen promoting products designed to make people’s skin lighter, or maintaining silence on domestic issues.
Several Bollywood stars have been labelled “hypocrites” after speaking out against racism to lend support to global protests while promoting products in India designed to make people’s skin lighter.
The actors were also trolled and accused of “cowardice” for their refusal to call out the attacks on India’s minorities, mainly Muslims, while protesting against the killing of George Floyd in the United States.
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A series of A-list Bollywood actresses, including Priyanka Chopra, shared posts on social media to protest against the death of Floyd who died in police custody after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“End this race war here in the US, and around the world. Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, NO ONE deserves to die, especially at the hands of another because of their skin colour,” Chopra, 37, posted on Instagram.
People were quick to call her out on social media for previously promoting an “intense fairness moisturiser”.
They also pointed at her role in a 2008 Hindi film, Fashion, in which she is ashamed of having sex with a black man.
“Thanks for speaking out for black lives. But, maybe also stop supporting a skin bleaching cream which promotes anti-blackness,” one user replied to Chopra’s Instagram post.
Chopra, a former Miss World who became a star in both Bollywood and Hollywood, has said in past interviews that she regretted endorsing such a product as a young actress and that she is proud of her dark skin.
She was not immediately available to comment.
Promoting ‘fairness’ creams
Actresses Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Deepika Padukone and Disha Patani also faced criticism for their anti-racism social media posts while having featured in ads for skin fairness products.
India’s multibillion-dollar skin lightening industry has a host of products appearing to offer dark-skinned Indians a lighter, fairer and ostensibly “better” version of themselves, often endorsed by the Bollywood’s top actors.
After years of criticism and campaigns against such products, many brands moved to calling them “skin brightening”, “whitening” or “lightening” creams and face washes.
“Most brands no longer want to be associated directly with being termed as ‘fairness creams’,” said actor Abhay Deol, a vocal critic of fairness products and Bollywood’s support of them.