Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty is finally acquitted in the obscenity case 14 years after riots erupted across India when Richard Gere kissed her on the cheek and the actress ‘did not protest’.
- Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty led an AIDs awareness event in India in 2007
- Mr Gere repeatedly hugged and kissed the Bollywood actress on the cheek
- Kiss caused outrage and sparked riots in which effigies of the couple were burned
- Ms Shetty was also charged with “obscenity” for not resisting the kiss, but the case against her was dismissed by a judge on Monday
Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty has been cleared of obscenity charges made against her 14 years ago when actor Richard Gere kissed her at an AIDs awareness event.
Ms Shetty, now 46, had been accused of failing to resist Mr Gere’s advances when he repeatedly hugged her and kissed her cheek during a benefit concert in India in 2007.
The incident, which happened the same year Ms Shetty appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, sparked outrage and sparked riots, with effigies of the couple burned in the streets.
Three court cases have also been launched against Ms Shetty, although all charges have now been dismissed after a judge ruled she was the “victim” of Mr Gere’s affections.
Shilpa Shetty was cleared of causing ‘obscenity’ because she couldn’t resist a kiss from Richard Gere during a 2007 AIDs benefit concert that sparked riots in India (right).
Judge Ketki Chavan of the Mumbai High Court ruled on Monday: “It appears that defendant Shilpa Shetty is the victim of the alleged offence.
“Not a single element of any of the alleged offenses was met in the complaint.”
A judge found that Ms Shetty (pictured last year) had been the victim of unwanted attention from Mr Gere
Ms Shetty has not commented on the sacking, but shared a post about happiness on her Instagram page on Tuesday.
“Happiness is in your hands. Don’t wait for another person, the weekend, or a special occasion to bring you joy and happiness,” the post reads.
“Do whatever makes you happy. Your mind, body, heart and soul will thank you in abundance.’
Ms Shetty and Mr Gere had helped promote an AIDS awareness event in Rajasthan in 2007 when the now infamous kiss took place.
Photos show the American actor taking Ms. Shetty’s hand and kissing her before hugging her and kissing her cheek several times.
He later said the spontaneous act was meant to show that kissing wasn’t dangerous and couldn’t spread the virus.
But the incident sparked protests among India’s religious conservatives, who branded it an outrage and took to the streets in protest.
Some of the protests turned into riots, with effigies of both actors being burned in the streets and criminal charges being filed against the couple.
Religious conservatives led protests, accusing the couple of using the kiss to spread obscenity, allegations Ms Shetty dismissed as “insane”.
Mr Gere apologized while Ms Shetty blamed India’s “insane fringe” for the unrest and said the incident had been exaggerated.
The charges against Mr Gere were quickly dropped – allowing him to return to the country to meet with the Dalai Lama – but those against Ms Shetty remained in the Indian justice system.
In 2017, her lawyers requested that the case be moved from Rajasthan to Mumbai, and on Monday a judge finally got around to making a ruling.
Ms Shetty is perhaps best known outside of India for her appearance on British reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.
The series was engulfed by scandal after it faced racial bullying from fellow contestants.
She was also in the news recently after her husband Raj Kundra was arrested for pornography last year.