The conflict between different fields’ icons began with the TOI publishing a photo and tweet about actress Deepika Padukone’s cleavage.
Newspaper tweeted “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show,” alongside a picture of the actress taken last year in a ceremony.
Deepika responded angrily, tweeteed on micro-blogging platform with:
YES! I am a Woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??
Deepika’s response got retweeted more than 7,000 times and the #tag of #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone became India’s top Twitter trend for hours.
After the response, TOI removed earlier tweet and comes up with an explanation that:
“It’s a compliment! You look so great that we want to make sure everyone knew! :)”
Lot of people including Deepika Padukone were not happy with the reply.
She wrote a longish post on her Facebook on Friday, saying that she had “spoken out against an ideology that such regressive tactics are still being employed to draw a reader’s attention at a time when we are striving for women’s equality and empowerment”.
The Times of India has now hit back with a piece which has whipped up more social media outrage, with many accusing the paper of being “as distasteful as its tweet”.
The newspaper accuses Padukone of being hypocritical about the picture, saying several “media outlets have freely displayed Deepika’s cleavage even as they sounded all outraged on her behalf”.
TOI admitted that the “headline could have been better”.
“But the world of online is different from that of newspapers. It is chaotic and cluttered – and sensational headlines are far from uncommon”.
The Indian newspaper also blamed Padukone for trying to support censorship and gaining “greater publicity” for herself ahead of a film release.
“…does she now want us to first check with her as to which pictures of her – taken at public events – we can or cannot publish? Are we going to have a parallel censor board for pictures of film stars taken off screen but in plain sight of the world, as Deepika’s was?”