An Indian actor has apologized to badminton star Saina Nehwal after being accused of making a sexual and misogynistic comment to him on Twitter.
Siddharth said he was sorry for his “crass joke” and that he “cannot justify my tone and my words”, but insisted that his comment had no “malicious intent”.
Nehwal is a well-known sports star in India and a former world number one credited with the increased popularity of badminton in the country.
The message in question was posted on January 6 in a row about a security breach involving the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.
He quoted a tweet from Nehwal and replied: “A world champion of the subtle rooster … thank goodness we have protectors from India.”
Siddharth, 42, claimed his driving game was not a sexual reference, but in fact alluded to the phrase “rooster and bull story”.
However, the tweet sparked accusations of sexism, and the Indian National Commission for Women asked Twitter to block the actor’s account.
He said the “obscene and inappropriate” message was misogynistic and “amounts to a lack of respect and an insult to the dignity of women”.
“A joke that didn’t land”
Siddharth – who has appeared in films mainly in Tamil and Telugu, but also in Hindi – issued a public apology on Tuesday.
He posted: “I can disagree with you on a lot of things, but even my disappointment or my anger when I read your tweet, cannot justify my tone and my words. I know I have more grace in me. only that.”
Siddharth said he was sorry “for a joke that didn’t land” and that he was a “staunch feminist ally”.
He added: “I assure you there was no gender involved in my tweet and certainly no intention to attack you as a woman.”
Nehwal, 31, said she had not spoken to the actor but was glad he apologized, according to Indian news agency PTI.
“See, it’s about women, he shouldn’t be targeting a woman like that, but it’s okay, I don’t mind, I’m happy in my space and god bless him,” she said. .