An Indian court has finally acquitted Shilpa Shetty of indecent charges 15 years after actor Richard Gere kissed a Bollywood star on stage.
Footage from 2007 showed the Hollywood star kissing Shetty’s cheek at an AIDS awareness event in Delhi.
It has only now been ruled that the charges are “baseless”, with the court saying she was the victim of an unwanted initiative.
At the time, the kiss sparked protests by extremist Hindu groups, who considered it an affront to Indian values.
Some in India consider kissing in public a taboo.
Geir Shetty hugged and kissed on a public stage at a charity event in Delhi nearly 15 years ago, for which he later apologized.
The actor said he was “trying to show that kissing is a safe act that cannot lead to HIV transmission.”
Soon after, the Supreme Court of India annulled an arrest warrant for the American actor in connection with the incident. She dismissed the allegations against the actor, calling them “cheap publicity”.
But just last week, charges against Shetty for the same incident in Mumbai were dropped, after the case vanished in the Indian court system.
The Bollywood star’s legal team argued that it was unfair to find Shetty “guilty” because she did not sufficiently protest the kiss at the time.
Shilpa Shetty caught the spotlight outside India, also in 2007, after appearing on the UK reality TV show ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, where she was the victim of racial bullying and insults. And she continued it until she won the competition.
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