Indian Court Issues Warrant to Arrest Richard Gere
An Indian Court has issued an arrest warrant for Richard Gere on a charge of obscenity.
An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Hollywood actor Richard Gere after he kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in public.
Gere, 57, kissed Shetty, 31, several times on the cheek at an Aids awareness event in Delhi earlier this month.
The court in Jaipur in Rajasthan state called it “an obscene act”, after a local lawyer filed a complaint.
For those who haven’t been following this story, Gere’s kissing of Shetty has sparked a great deal of outrage in India, where in many places public displays of affection are considered obscene.
Clearly, Gere didn’t intend any harm in kissing Shetty. Still, as someone who is, according to the article, a “regular visitor” of India, you would think that he would know better. Obviously, I don’t think he deserves time in prison–indeed, this is sort of playing out like a bad Next Generation episode. However, I do think that when a person is a visitor in another country, it’s only polite to not engage in behaviors that violate local customs. And certainly, someone should think twice before breaking their laws–no matter how trivial it might seem to us.
By the same token, I think it also goes without saying that although Gere’s gesture was considered obscene to many Indians, they are clearly overreacting. Especially considering that Gere is a guest in their nation. Again, basic politeness would dictate that a guest be given some level of grace in an instance like this–he should have been gently notified that his actions are considered impolite and the matter should have dropped after Gere apologized (which he did). That an arrest warrant has been issued against him is pretty unconscionable.