In Cobrapost’s latest, dozens of Bollywood celebrities have been caught on record agreeing to post political propaganda on their social media handles in exchange of money. This new revelation comes just months ahead of the 2019 General Elections and it names some of the biggest B-town celebrities.
Cobrapost in its extensive sting operation has given out the names of over three dozen celebrities which include prominent singers, actors like Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Kailash Kher, Mika Singh and Baba Sehgal; actors Jackie Shroff, Shakti Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Sonu Sood, Ameesha Patel, Mahima Chaudhry, Shreyas Talpade, Puneet Issar, Surendra Pal, Pankaj Dheer, Tisca Chopra, Deepshikha Nagpal, Akhilendra Mishra, Rohit Roy, Rahul Bhat, Salim Zaidi, Rakhi Sawant, Aman Verma, Hiten Tejwani, Gauri Pradhan, Evelyn Sharma, Minissha Lamba, Koena Mitra, Poonam Pandey, Sunny Leone among others.
However, the investigative platform mentioned that four celebrities- Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Raza Murad and Saumya Tandon- when approached by Cobrapost’s undercover celebrities refused to take part in the exercise of misleading their fans in exchange for some quick cash. The report states, “While we saw all these celebs succumbing to the lure of money and agreeing to indulge in this unethical and unlawful practice, there were some notable exceptions, though. When we approached Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Raza Murad and Saumya Tandon with our proposition, these celebs chose to go by their conscience and straightaway refused to play ball.”
Exceptions to the exercise
Cobrapost said that their undercover reporters approached these celebrities through their managers. The reporters posed as employees of public relations firm which represented the BJP, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party. Cobrapost chief Aniruddh Bahal said that almost all the celebrities agreed to do it for a fee which ranged between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for a post. To show their readiness, some of the celebrities even posted messages without being paid.
While the A-listers in Bollywood like Balan and Warsi refused to take bribes, Twitter users expressed their utter shock and disgust over the fact that as many as 36 celebrities have fallen prey to partake in the exercise. However, many Twitter users praised the four exceptional and lauded them for their move.
All the four have been hailed as true champions, thanks to their deeds. Television actress Saumya Tandon spoke to Janta Ka Reporter where she said, “Well, in my 12 years of career in the entertainment industry, there have been many times that I have been approached for either endorsing a political party especially closer to the elections or to rally for a particular candidate or talk about a particular party on social media or go attend their parties. I have never done that. I will never do that.” She further said that she will never “sell herself” for money.
Meanwhile, Editor-Writer Apurva Asrani tweeted, “Almost all the big names approached by #OperationKaraoke refused to sell their souls. It’s mostly the small fries, the ‘has beens’, who sold out. And while actors are known to dance for money, an exposè on news professionals who wreak havoc with paid news would be the real deal.” While none of the A-listers have been named or even approached, followers tally of each of them runs into lakhs, which only makes matters worse.
While it is undeniable that the Cobrapost investigations have revealed a dark underbelly which is still very much present in the Indian film industry, the four celebrities who refused to take part only restores our faith in the fact that not everyone will fall prey to questionable activities. The Logical Indian appreciates each of them for setting a shining example of grit and for coming out as shining examples from this exercise.
Also Read: From Sunny Leone To Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Here’s 36 B-Town Celebrities Who Will Post Propaganda For Cash