Tanmay Bhat’s tweets on child rape char the Internet, Lobby maintains radio silence

Tanmay Bhat once again made headlines after Kotak Mahindra Bank pulled down its new ‘811’ campaign ad featuring the controversial comedian following social media uproar over his decade-old demeaning tweet about Lord Ganesha and child rape. Bhat’s disgusting tweets have outraged the netizens but the same Lobby that is happy to switch between touting freedom of expression & seeking censure when convenient has cornered itself into silence.

Usual suspects of the Lobby, presumably unclear on where to stand, have maintained a deafening silence on the matter, not even deeming it necessary to condemn Tamnay Bhat’s old tweet which forced Kotak Mahindra bank to junk its campaign. 

Meanwhile, netizens were scathing in their criticism of the offensive and perverse ten-year-old tweets that seemed to be covered in a cloak of “comedy”. In response to the backlash, the bank said that it does not endorse or support the actor’s views and withdrew the campaign.

“We, at Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., do not support or endorse the views of actors made in their personal capacity that harm or offend any individual or group. We have withdrawn the campaign,” the bank tweeted.

Speaking to Republic, Shefali Vaidya, who was one of the first people to point out Bhat’s offensive tweet, said, “How can a brand like Kotak which has customers from all sections of Indian society have someone like Tanmay Bhat who has made offensive tweets about children. He also made sick tweets about Lord Ganesha. It is too disgusting for me to even read.” 

On Twitter, social media users highlighted his past tweets on child rape and asked Kotak Mahindra Bank if it reflects its brand values.

Another Twitter user, Monica Verma, said, “Hi @KotakBankLtd @udaykotak I am a customer of your bank but the fact that you have hired a hinduphobic, woman and child abuser Tanmay Bhat for a campaign is making me consider closing my account. Discontinue the association with him and apologise?”

This is not the first time Tanmay Bhat has found himself in controversy. In 2016, his video superimposing the faces of late singer Lata Mangeshkar and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was condemned by netizens. Mumbai Police had also asked Facebook and Youtube to take down the video. Later, in October 2018, Bhat was under attack for his not taking action on the complaints against another comedian during the #MeToo movement.

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