Actor Siddharth has apologised for his “rude joke” on badminton player Saina Nehwal following an uproar over his recent remark.
The actor has asserted that his “word play” had “none of the malicious intent” that was attributed to it.
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) January 11, 2022
Responding to a tweet by Ms Nehwal in which she raised concerns over the breach in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security during his visit to Punjab, Siddharth tweeted, “Subtle cock champion of the world… Thank God we have protectors of India. Folded hands. Shame on you Rihanna.”
No nation can claim itself to be safe if the security of its own PM gets compromised. I condemn, in the strongest words possible, the cowardly attack on PM Modi by anarchists.#BharatStandsWithModi#PMModi
— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) January 5, 2022
The tweet triggered an uproar for its sexist undertones, with many on social media accusing the actor of resorting to misogyny to target the badminton player for her views.
Siddharth then claimed that his tweet was actually a reference to “cock and bull” and reading otherwise is “unfair”, adding that “nothing disrespectful was intended”.
The explanation failed to put the matter to rest as the actor drew more fire on social media. Both tweets have now been deleted.
In response to Siddharth’s remark, Ms Nehwal, who is also a BJP member, said in a statement, “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 husband and badminton player Parupalli Kashyap, too, came out against the actor’s remark, calling it “upsetting”.
— Parupalli Kashyap (@parupallik) January 10, 2022
In a letter of apology he posted on Twitter last night, Siddharth said, “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.”
Saying that his “word play and humour” had no malicious intent, the actor wrote, “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.”
“You will always be my Champion,” the actor signed off.