Actor Vivek Oberoi today deleted his tweet sharing an offensive meme on exit polls featuring actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and posted his apologies, hours after a display of defiance.
"Even if one woman is offended by my reply to the meme, it calls for remedial action. Apologies tweet deleted," the actor tweeted this morning.
"Sometimes what appears to be funny and harmless at first glance to one, may not be so to others. I have spent the last 10 years empowering more than 2000 underprivileged girls, I can't even think of being disrespectful to any woman ever," he wrote.
Vivek Oberoi was shredded for sharing the meme and was also served notices from the National Commission and the Maharashtra State Commission for Women.
The meme featured photos of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with actor Salman Khan, with Vivek Oberoi and with her husband Abhishek Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya. The pictures were captioned "opinion polls", "exit polls" and "results".
Within minutes, Twitter skewered the actor, who also captioned his post saying: "Haha! creative! No politics here...just life."
Last evening, Vivek Oberoi dug in his heels and declared he had nothing to apologise for. He told news agency ANI: "I have no problem in apologising, but tell me what wrong have I done? If I have done something wrong I will apologise, I don't think I have done anything wrong."
People were making a "huge issue out of it", he said, adding that he just "laughed at the meme". He also said he was "appreciating the person for the creativity".
"Those in the meme don't have a problem, but everyone else has," he claimed, linking the controversy to his yet-to-be released biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Among those who tore into the actor on Twitter were actor Sonam Kapoor and sportsperson Jwala Gutta.