Aishwarya reacts to Kalyan Jewellers racist ad via an open letter

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan hits the headlines for all wrong reasons. She was criticised for being in a racist ad of Kalyan Jewellers ad, which the former beauty queen endorsed. The advertisement drew the attention of the public on April 17, when it was published on a newspaper, the same day when the actress inaugurated a new Kalyan Jeweller store in Chennai with father-in-law and megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

On behalf of the actress, her publicist issued a statement, which reads, "On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professional working on the brand visual communication."

The actress and Kalyan Jewellers were slammed by a collective of activists for women's and children's rights including feminist writer Farah Naqvi, Enakshi Ganguly, Harsh Mander and Shantha Sinha, a former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in an open letter.

The letter described the advertisement as 'insidiously racist' and accuses Aishwarya of associating herself with a ''regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product." It also acknowledges that she may have done so "unthinkingly."

The statement comes after a letter titled "Open letter to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: This ad you figure in is insidiously racist", takes on the former beauty queen for appearing "to be representing aristocracy from a bygone era - bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head".

"As an influential member of the Indian film industry and a popular star with a large fan following, we trust that you wish to use your image in a manner that promotes progressive thought and action, and would not knowingly promote regressive images that are racist and go against child rights," reads a part of the letter.

The Twitterati also criticized the advertisement.
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