Bollywood actors slammed for protesting racism abroad while promoting colourism at home

Bollywood actors slammed for protesting racism abroad while promoting colourism at home

"Maybe also stop supporting a skin bleaching cream which promotes anti-blackness,” one user replied to Priyanka Chopra’s post.
08 Jun, 2020

Several Bollywood stars have been labelled “hypocrites” after speaking out against racism to lend support to global protests while promoting products in India designed to make people’s skin lighter.

A series of A-list Bollywood actresses, including Priyanka Chopra, shared posts on social media to protest against the death of George Floyd who died in police custody after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

“End this race war here in the US, and around the world. Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, NO ONE deserves to die, especially at the hands of another because of their skin color,” Chopra, 37, posted on Instagram.

People were quick to call her out on social media for previously promoting an "intense fairness moisturiser". "Thanks for speaking out for black lives. But, maybe also stop supporting a skin bleaching cream which promotes anti-blackness,” one user replied to Chopra’s Instagram post.

Chopra, a former Miss World who became a star in both Bollywood and Hollywood, has said in past interviews that she regretted endorsing such a product as a young actress and that she is proud of her dark skin. She was not immediately available to comment.

Actresses Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Deepika Padukone and Disha Patani also faced criticism for their anti-racism social media posts while having featured in ads for skin fairness products.

India’s multi billion-dollar skin lightening industry has a host of products appearing to offer dark-skinned Indians a lighter, fairer and better version of themselves, often endorsed by the Bollywood’s top actors.

After years of criticism and campaigns against such products, many brands moved to calling them “skin brightening”, “whitening” or “lightening” creams and face washes.

“Most brands no longer want to be associated directly with being termed as ‘fairness creams’,” said actor Abhay Deol, a vocal critic of fairness products and Bollywood’s support.

Critics say the film industry helps feed India’s obsession with fair skin and bias against darker faces, with many pointing out it fails to represent the diversity of Indians.

For example, actors from southern states where most people are darker-skinned are rarely in mainstream Bollywood films.

Last year, the film Bala featured the story of a woman who suffered discrimination because of her complexion and actress Bhumi Pednekar had her skin darkened to play the role.

Social media users also questioned why Bollywood continued to write lyrics and dialogues that equated fairness with beauty.

Kangana Ranaut, a noted actress, spoke out against her Bollywood colleagues for promoting fairness products.

“These people, especially Indian celebrities, the successful ones... have been endorsing all kinds of fairness products and today shamelessly they stand and say black lives matter — I mean how dare they?” she told the BBC in an interview last week.

Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj took on Bollywood for the endorsements as well on his news-comedy programme Patriot Act on Netflix.


Changez Khan Jun 08, 2020 12:39pm
Double Standards.
Ajay Jun 08, 2020 01:25pm
Well said !!
bhaRAT© Jun 08, 2020 01:33pm
Indians have a thing with colour.
ACEGIKtime Jun 08, 2020 02:55pm
Pakistan lost Bangladesh because of discrimination towards black skin. It’s documented history and still has living evidence. Biggest hypocrite is Pakistan to talk about blacks.
Rehbar Jun 08, 2020 03:00pm
Why do we expect Movie stars to be our benchmark and ideals. They are ordinary folks who are earning their livelihood by acting.Plain and simple. What is so special about their life choices and tweets. No one is calling out the companies who make fairness creams. We love to pull down those whom we aspire to become.
Alia Jun 08, 2020 05:18pm
Fairness creams endorsed by Pakistani celebs sell like hot cakes in Pakistan, it needs to stop. We should be proud of our dark skin color and shun this colonial hangover.
M. Saeed Jun 08, 2020 05:36pm
All Bollywood actresses (except a few ) should dare to come to the open without their skin whitening makeup and enhancement aids and then talk about the matter.
B Jun 08, 2020 05:52pm
@bhaRAT© So do Pakistanis. Having grown up in Lahore I know how the aunties would comment on your skin tone specially in the summers because of sun tanning. It’s rampant in South Asia generally. Post Colonial complex.
Zeo Jun 08, 2020 06:00pm
I'm an India, but will agree with the remarks. We (all subcontinentals) have obsession with colour and race. May not be as strong and discriminating as some in west - but it is there. And it should be addressed at home first.
Arjun Jun 08, 2020 06:49pm
As if no pakistani actor/actress are involved in fairness cream ads. Hypocrites. How come Pakistanis accept articles like this which implicate themselves if digged deeper?
rana1 Jun 08, 2020 08:42pm
Colour hypocrisy to be found in all walks of life.
Observer Jun 08, 2020 08:58pm
South Asian people are hypocrites about skin color! Many Pakistani and north Indians call south Indians "blackies.
Sakth Aadmi Jun 09, 2020 12:01am
Movie stars are there to entertain. Stop looking at them for being role models.
D’Souza Jun 09, 2020 12:32am
I don’t know why skin color is associated with beauty. I believe people of all races are beautiful. As a man, in my life I have found women of every race attractive. People are mean.
Ehteshamul Haque Jun 09, 2020 12:52am
Priyanka will do any thing for publicity now that her movie career is down the tube.
Suresh Tekade Jun 09, 2020 02:05am
Do what I say, don't do what I do. Total Phony
Salman Jun 09, 2020 02:52am
Blame the ones who look upto movie stars as their guiding light. It's like buying your bread from the mechanic, and then complaining of grease in the bread.
AAMIR Jun 09, 2020 07:12am
Indian celebrities- A beacon for morality and voice for justice - A bunch of hypocrites; absolute pin drop silence from these so called celebrities when hundreds are killed, dragged on the streets even lynched on the basis of religion, cast and pure hatred in India. There is no shame in their game, just want to get on the band wagon without truly believing in the cause for justice against hate and discrimination.
Cynic Jun 09, 2020 07:30am
Whiteness is an obsession, currently dormant, as this horrible racism and its ramifications unfold. In time, will it raise its ugly head again. Hopefully, in a more muted shade.
S Jun 09, 2020 07:57am
Ms. Chopra says that she is proud pf her dark skin. That must be a joke she is fairer than some of the suntanned whites. Please Ms. Chopra
S Jun 09, 2020 08:18am
I remember one movie made before partition which glorified whiteness by the hero by singing " gory gory" trying to show that to be white is the same as being pretty.
Issak Jun 09, 2020 09:33am
Yes.. hypocrites and opportunists..when Muslims are being killed by racist Indian police or by Hindu mobs there's total silence from them.. even by Muslim movie stars afraid of being ostracized by players in the BJP government...shame on them for not speaking out on what's happening in India ..
Ahmad Jun 09, 2020 10:30am
Kashmiri Lives Matter Too.
Tamilselvan Jun 09, 2020 12:51pm
@Ahmad Kashmiri Pandits life matter too