Richard Gere kissing incident
Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty in the controversial kissing incident in April 2007
On April 15, 2007, Shetty was kissed several times in jest on the cheek by Richard Gere during an AIDS-awareness event.The pair had appeared at a press conference in New Delhi as part of a campaign to preach safe sex to truck drivers in India and promotion of AIDS awareness. The kiss, considered an attack on India’s cultural and moral values, prompted protesters—alleged members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena—to beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks. Others set fire to glamour shots of Shetty. People demanded an apology from her and threatened to ban her movies in the state.
Shetty responded to these protests by saying “I understand this (kissing) is his (Gere’s) culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such a manner. I understand people’s sentiments, but I do not want a foreigner to take bad memories from here.”
The legal action against both Shetty and Gere has been suspended by the Indian Supreme Court until the court decides on the case’s proper jurisdiction. Gere has since expressed regret for causing any offense and Shetty has stated: “so much has been blown out of proportion”.
Watch Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty below