Trolls Call Rihanna, Mia Khalifa Supporting Farmer Protests Names Like W*ores And R*ndi, Threaten Them With Rape. It’s A New Low
Do you ever feel like social media physically exhausts you, even if all you’re doing is just browsing? I feel that every time Kangana Ranaut tweets. Or a politician says something so ridiculous that it makes me sure they were getting something other than notoriety out of it. In front of these people, sometimes, even those audience members that volunteer to do ratchet shit on The Kapil Sharma Show seem intelligent and sensible. The social media shenanigans around the farmers protests in India have been dropping to fresh new lows with each passing day. However, what happened on Tuesday, when pop sensation Rihanna tweeted about it is a story reserved for the deepest circles of hell.
Hey, I can be dramatic. IT cells ka copyright nahi hai drama pe!
The Barbadian singer, actor and businesswoman shared a CNN article about the raging farmer protests in Delhi, India, against the Farm Bills, posing a simple question—Why aren’t we talking more about this? One simple question that raises some very valid points. One, it is one of the most large-scale protests, the likes of which India hasn’t seen before. Two, India is an agrarian country. If the very hands that hold it up are now raised in protest, of course we should be talking about it. Three, India is the world’s largest democracy, implying that the will of its people holds sway above everything. And yet if the people elected to cater to this democratic will are not paying heed to the voices of those who elected them to their positions of power, what’s even the point, right?
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
And finally, India is this rising superpower that has been screaming for attention, for finally being recognised as a key player in the power play. So if the Capitol riots in the United States get so much international attention, and Hong Kong protests make headlines. Then shouldn’t we also be talking about what’s happening in India?
But you know how, when you’re guilty of something, and you try to deny it, your voice is raised by several decibels? That’s exactly how a lot of the Twitter trolls—who take patriotism and nationalism to be unquestionable blind devotion—reacted to Rihanna’s tweet. How dare she?
Leading the charge against IRL queen Rihanna was reel Queen Kangana Ranaut, who gives Good Girl Gone Bad a whole new meaning. Aanhen our dimaag kharaab ho jayega, but let’s look at what she tweeted.
I won’t even dignify this shit with a counter, but y’all should know that Rihanna is from Barbados. Not America. FYI.
Following Rihanna’s tweet, several other international personalities also tweeted about it—Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, Lebanese-American adult film actress Mia Khalifa, and even United States Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 2, 2021
It’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest democracy was attacked not even a month ago, and as we speak, the most populous democracy is under assault. This is related. We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters. https://t.co/yIvCWYQDD1 pic.twitter.com/DxWWhkemxW
— Meena Harris (@meena) February 2, 2021
— Mia K. (@miakhalifa) February 3, 2021
However, in India, a tweetstorm of a different kind was brewing. While some were thanking the Umbrella singer for bringing this cause under a global focus light, the usual RW trolls and IT cell accounts were in an overdrive, trying to counter attack.
Now, had they done that by stating cold, hard facts or logical reasoning, it would’ve been considered as valid and civil. Instead, they began attacking her character, the way she dresses, her previous tweets and so on. The lowest they stooped was when some accounts began tweeting on the lines of “Chris Brown did nothing wrong,” and even changing their display pictures to his picture. For those unaware, Chris Brown had domestic abuse charges levelled against him for assaulting Rihanna when the two were dating in 2009.
View this post on Instagram
I let Chris Brown handle you.. Moron
— Pavan (@chintham) February 3, 2021
Clearly, this is the most pathetic thing to do to a domestic abuse victim, to use a traumatic incident like that to suppress their voice.
Furthermore, Greta Thunberg was belittled for age, and her loyalty to her environmental causes was questioned. Why? Because supporting the very same Punjab farmers who’re responsible for crop burning and the resultant air pollution that’s responsible fo the toxic Delhi air is a conflict. For Mia Khalifa, the trolls didn’t even get creative or use an ounce of effort. It was all very cliché jokes and jibes at her porn career.
— Major Gaurav Arya (Retd) (@majorgauravarya) February 3, 2021
Well dear environmental activist, farmers cause great damage to the environment by using excess pesticides and burning stubble. This is why kids should get an education before becoming activists https://t.co/W05eG1QXLU
— The Bad Doctor (@DOCTORATLARGE) February 3, 2021
Johnny Sins has taken note! He will play "police" and Mia "farmer" in their next movie.
— The History Wave (@history_wave) February 3, 2021
One more Paid Hater 💂♀️
Check your background first before parking your nose in our matter. 💃@PMOIndia @narendramodi @HMOIndia @AmitShah @BJP4India @NIA_India@VHPDigital @RSS_Org@PappuBuster @kuldeep_maini https://t.co/1ogVxc6AIU
— BeingKSM (@BeingKsm) February 3, 2021
What was perhaps even more disgusting was that people with verified Twitter accounts, some who held important bureaucratic positions in the government, were tweeting personal attacks and claiming that outsiders should not be concerning themselves with India’s issues. And that probably, they’re getting paid for these tweets.
The paid tweets bit made me laugh. Because the Twitter accounts making these claims were probably marshalling paid IT cell accounts to start #RihannaHaayeHaaye tweets. But I’m sorry, outsiders? Really? India, the land where pados waali aunty knows more about the children than their own parents, wants to talk about not interfering in other people’s business? Why shouldn’t they talk about it, especially when the country’s internal media is busy writing an AU fanfic of what’s actually happening in the country?
Comedian Vir Das and Twitter user @Roocheetah perfectly pointed out how this entire outlook of “outsiders should not talk, yeh ghar ki baat hai” and ‘getting defensive when someone points out your faults’ is amplified here to incorporate national issues a well.
View this post on Instagram
Power structures within South Asian communities hv difficulty tolerating resistance.They feel threatened & resort to dismissal + gaslighting to retain power.Children aren't to 'backanswer' parents,citizens aren't to question the govt. when they're 'doing something for their good'
— Ruchita (@roocheetah) February 3, 2021
Please know that everyone patronising and saying 'you don't know anything' to folx from outside the country who have raised their voice, shared an article or said something about the protest and atrocities, are a product of and benefit from the same power system.
— Ruchita (@roocheetah) February 3, 2021
As of now, the Ministry Of External Affairs has also issued a statement in response to the farmers protests gaining international attention.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) February 3, 2021
It should be noted that GOI also has international celeb support. Akshay Kumar has tweeted in support of it.
Farmers constitute an extremely important part of our country. And the efforts being undertaken to resolve their issues are evident. Let’s support an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences. 🙏🏻#IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda https://t.co/LgAn6tIwWp
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) February 3, 2021
You know this reminds me a lot about that Namastey London scene where this one old British dude talks about how Winston Churchill had said that if the British left India in the control of Indians, they’d manage to run it into the ground. And instead of actually countering his argument, Akshay Kumar’s character just prattles on a million reasons why India is otherwise a great country. Now being a philosophy and law graduate, I can surely tell you that while the speech is applause worthy and makes me super proud of my country, it doesn’t exactly prove the unpleasant dude’s initial point about the political state of India wrong. It merely sidesteps it. And yet, to some extent, it is still much better than the kind of arguments we as a country have resorted to in these past few years.
Our politicians use this sidestepping technique almost all the time. But what gives it that filthy zing is when they flavour it with oodles of Argumentum Ad Hominem—attacking the person instead of the argument. Character assassination karna toh koi inse seekhe!
Also Read: At A Press Conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Tactfully Defends A Woman Journalist
You know how lawyers have these assistants and paralegals, sitting at the table with books and evidence, etc., constantly supplying research to their colleague that might help with their argument? When it comes to politics, we have IT cells that have the singular job of digging up dirt and character flaws of anyone who dares speak against an agenda that their political party doesn’t endorse.
They brandish this personal attack with élan on social media, which unfortunately has become a political battleground instead of simply being a place big enough for everyone’s opinions to exist, freely and safely. And if you’re a celebrity or a famous person who dares to take sides, then it’s open season on you character! If Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is reading this, these are the probably the accounts that you should be blocking, not the ones that are reporting about the farmers protests.
Here’s Kangana Ranaut, a woman who thinks it is okay to talk about Rihanna, another woman, in these words:
Yep, calling women ‘porn’ stars is Kangana Ranaut’s favourite way to ‘insult them. Here’s she’s calling Rihanna a ‘porn’ singer. What even?
It’s pretty much like an instalment of I Know What You Did Last Summer, where the trolls just run behind you, bringing up anything that even remotely resembles a mistake from your past, or attacking you about completely unrelated things like, “Oh you use a Made In China product? That means you’re a communist and you support the country that caused the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, your views on what’s happening in the world’s largest democracy don’t matter. Sorry. Them’s the rules.”
Fortunately, these women are all badasses when it comes to dealing with troll.
Also Read: Kangana Ranaut Calls Urmila Matondkar A “Soft Porn Star”. Even If She Were, Why Is This An Insult? Feminism Takes A Hit
You know what’s funny? When a Kamala Harris or a Sunita Williams make us proud on International forums, we’d love for the world to acknowledge their Indianness. When our films don’t get into the Oscars’ final race, or our Indian artists don’t get as much recognition abroad as they should, we harp on about how India should get the right kind of attention and a seat at the table. We want India to be recognised as this emerging superpower, and we cite that as a valid reason for our PM Narendra Modi embarking on numerable diplomatic tours since he began his tenure in 2014. But when the world is finally playing ball and focusing its eye on India, we’re going to throw a tantrum about it not focusing only on the “good parts”?
When the US Capitol riots took place, the whole world was tuned in and talking about it on social media. But I don’t think I spotted a Priyanka Chopra or a Mindy Kaling being personally attacked like Rihanna is being now over expressing their opinions on it. Heck, I myself tweeted so much about what was happening in America, but I don’t think I was called an outsider or made to feel horrible for having an opinion on international current events!
In fact, the primary reason we were able to see what was happening in America on that fateful day in real time was because the press was reporting it. If it were India, would we get the same unfiltered picture of the situation? Heck, have we even been getting an unfiltered, un-politically-biased picture of what’s happening at the farmer’s protests, what happened at the Red Fort, what happened at the CAA-NRC protests at Shaheen Bagh? What happened with Sushant Singh Rajput, the NCB drug trial of Bollywood?
You know the answer. And so do I.
While I write this, in my heart of hearts, I nurse this fear that bits and pieces of my life float around on the Internet, ready to be plucked by some overzealous troll who would rather attack me than my ideology and argument. Yes, even though I am not a Rihanna or a Greta, I’m still a woman. “Oh look at this 2013 post when her political views were different.” “Oh but you shopped on Shein so you’re a China supporter.” “Your Spotify says you’ve listened to Bad Girl by Rihanna 758 times that means you’re a bad girl with no sanskaars.” “Oh you were still sleeping on Republic Day holiday when the farmer’s stormed Red Fort so your support is fake and this is a PR stunt.”
But you know what? We see through all the theatrics, guys. We see what you’re trying to do. And if this feels like a personal attack on India’s democratic politics, you know I learnt from the best. You, dear trolls.
Sharp-tongued feminist. Proud nerd. Opinions with on-point pop-culture references about films, books, your toxic BF, the patriarchy, and the Oxford comma.