American actor, choreographer Robert Hoffman apparently started helping a minor girl from Mumbai’s slum area, Maleesha Kharwa and has even started Go Fund Me page to support her modelling career. This unprecedented move by the 39-year-old has left the internet users divided. While some are lashing out on him for neglecting the seriousness of the issue others are showing support to help the girl. Hoffman posted a video showing 12-year-old Maleesha and her family living through the adversities of life. He has urged the followers to send in donations and see we they can “make a career” fo the “slum princess”.
The move soon became controversial when people started pointing out the problems including the safety concerns of the underprivileged minor girl. The fundraiser page also surrounded Hoffman with critics which said that he wrote the content which includes a separate section of ‘India’s poverty’. On behalf of Maleesha herself, issues like ‘caste system’ have been raised “thoughtlessly” according to some netizens.
While writing about India on Maleesha’s behalf, Hoffman wrote on Go Fund Me page, “In India, things are different than other places in the world. It's called a "caste system". There are so many people like me that sleep on the streets all over in India. My country is very overpopulated.”
It added, “the British exploited our lands during World War 2 which left us with very little resources to compete with the developing world around us. So you have very very rich people here, but mostly very very poor people.”
However, the majority has supported Hoffman in his venture and has even lauded him for helping the 12-year-old’s family. The 39-year-old has even made an Instagram account for Maleesha which according to the Go Fund Me page is managed by Hoffman and her father. Maleesha has gained over six thousand followers on Instagram that says on the description, “Hi! People say I live in a slum but I love my home! I hope to become a model to help my family eat. Here is my journey! Age 12”. In various posts, Maleesha and her family can be spotted with Hoffman who apparently has “a lot of fun”.
Internet users have extended gratitude for the American actor for helping in making at least one of the underprivileged girls’ life better. One of the Instagram users even commented under Hoffman’s post of the 12-year-old saying “I hope Maleesha doesn’t see the dark side of the industry” and wished the “best for her”. Meanwhile, the scrutiny has not stopped, from questions related to Hoffman’s authority on the family to involving an NGO in the venture, Instagram users have commented on everything.
Recently, while answering a question about Maleesha’s mother, Hoffman answered saying, “her mom is not with them and I have respected Maleesha’s request that there be no other inquiries from me on the topic.” One of the internet users lauded Hoffman and alerted him that his actions might fuel hate on social media. In his reply, the 39-year-old said, “ I appreciate your words. It’s just a little bit of venom but it’s so icky and uncalculated lol”.