Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone probably thought she would spend last weekend promoting her latest film. Instead, she ended up lashing out at India’s largest newspaper for tweeting a link to an old photo of the actress in a low-cut dress, and kicking off a social media storm over sexism in India.
It all began on Sunday when the Times of India tweeted a photo taken last year of Padukone with the message “'OMG: Deepika Padukone's cleavage show” along with a link to a slideshow of more images of the actress to the paper's 2.5 million followers. (The paper has since deleted the tweet and story, but screenshots abound on social media.)
Padukone wasted no time in responding on Twitter, first with "Supposedly India's 'LEADING' newspaper and this is 'NEWS'!!??", then slamming the paper on its treatment of women:
In response to the actress’s anger, the Times of India defended its original tweet, insisting that it was complimenting the star. "You look so great that we want to make sure everyone knew! :)" (This tweet has also since been deleted.)
Bollywood fans and actors quickly jumped into the Twitter fray, rushing to Padukone’s defense, and calling for an end to the double standard in Indian media when it comes to their coverage of women. The hashtag #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone became a trending topic among India’s Twitter users.
Padukone’s current co-star Arjun Kapoor was among those who spoke out.
Other stars -- male and female -- followed suit, among them, actress and singer Priyanka Chopra.
Finding Fanny, an English-language film starring Padukone and Kapoor, was released last Friday.