On Monday afternoon, Vivek Oberoi put out an obnoxious and distasteful tweet on his handle that featured Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Salman Khan and himself. The actor received huge backlash from various celebrities.
And now, the actor took to his Twitter handle: "Sometimes what appears to be funny and harmless at first glance to one, may not be so to others. I have spent the last 10 years empowering more than 2000 underprivileged girls, I cant even think of being disrespectful to any woman ever.Even if one woman is offended by my reply to the meme, it calls for remedial action. Apologies🙏🏻 tweet deleted."
Reacting to the heavy criticism on social media after he shared a meme on actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's personal life, Vivek Oberoi said Monday there was much ado about a "non-issue" and people were "politicising" the post unnecessarily.
Oberoi, who reportedly dated the former Miss World in early 2000s, posted a meme with three panels, one with him, another with Salman Khan and a third with her husband Abhishek and daughter Aaradhya on Twitter.
The meme, a take on the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the results of which will be declared on Thursday, was called "crass" and "distasteful".
"Haha! creative! No politics here... just life," Oberoi captioned the photo and credited the Twitter account that shared it.
Asked about the controversy over the tweet, Oberoi told reporters he doesn't understand "why people are making a big deal about this."
"Someone sent me a creative meme where I was being made fun of. I just wrote, 'Ha ha,' and appreciated the other person. When someone makes fun of you, you should laugh and not take it so seriously.
"I even wrote there that there's nothing political about it. It's life and such things happen in life that you are with someone and then you move on in life."
The actor said Aishwarya is "happy in her life and I am happy in mine".
"It's just a small meme. To take it so seriously and then give such a big reaction... The people, who are in the meme, haven't objected to it. But everyone has politicised it."
Aishwarya is currently in Cannes for the prestigious film festival.
Oberoi said there are people who just politicise "such non-issues" and drew a parallel with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
"Sometimes didi demand people to be put in jail for meme, and now some people want Vivek Oberoi to be behind bars. They couldn't stop my film but now want to stop me. This is kiddish, " he said.
Social media was quick to blast the actor, who is currently promoting his upcoming film "PM Narendra Modi", over his "distasteful" tweet.
Actor Sonam Kapoor called the meme "disgusting and classless"' in a tweet while Urmila Matondkar, who is the Congress candidate from Mumbai North, called out the actor for not having the courtesy of pulling down the tweet despite widespread criticism.
Reacting to Sonam's tweet, Oberoi said, "Sometimes people write such things on Twitter to appear cool."
"I would like to ask Sonam what work has she done for women empowerment? I have been working on women empowerment since Sonam was working on her makeover.
"I would just tell Sonam, 'You are a good girl. I have a lot of respect and love for your father. But what you have written, to that I would like to give you a small advice. God bless you and wish you all the best in your career but please overact less on screen and overreact less on social media.'"
The National Commission for Women sent a notice to the actor, asking him to give an explanation for sharing the "insulting" and "misogynist" tweet.
In the notice, the NCW said the actor should not have carried a minor girl and a woman's picture for a sly reference. A similar reaction came from Delhi and Maharashtra chapters of women commissions.
Oberoi said it's a good thing that a notice has been sent to him as he would want to meet the women commission and put his point.
"I'll also like to explain myself because I don't think I have done anything wrong," he said.
Oberoi said he doesn't have any issue in saying "sorry" and quipped he is an "expert in apologising."
"You must have seen my videos, memes where I am holding my ears to apologise. All I am saying is that please tell me what wrong have I done. If I have done anything wrong, I will apologise," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)