Deepika Padukone cleavage photo scandal

How did The Times of India manage to get it so wrong?

EDGAR staff September 16, 2014

As powerful a force Twitter can be for doing good and promoting a brand, it is equally if not more capable of completely destroying a company or publication's reputation if mismanaged. This fact was clearly on display on Sunday, September 13, when @TOIEntertain - the Twitter handle of the Times of India - tweeted a rather revealing photo of Bollywood star Deepika Padukone's cleavage with the caption, "OMG: Deepika Padukone's cleavage show."

Although this was clearly nothing more than a pretty crass effort at garnering a few precious clicks, the daily could possibly have got away without too much negative publicity if the tweet had been ignored by the star. However, unfortunately for them, Padukone saw the post and reacted pretty much how any woman would if they found themselves the subject of a tweet encouraging others to ogle at her breasts: furiously.

Her first reply ("YES! I am a woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??") put the journalists at the TOI firmly in their place, and her second ("Don't talk about woman's empowerment when YOU don't know how to RESPECT women!") made sure they stayed there - or that's what it should have done... 2

You'd have thought that the scolding would have been enough to provoke a sincere apology, but amazingly the people in charge of the rogue Twitter account decided to try and justify their post: "@deepikapadukone, it's a compliment! You look so great that we wanted to make sure everyone knew! :)"

The initial tweet was misguided, but the attempt to justify it with such a bigoted statement was just downright foolish. And sure enough, it provoked a huge backlash, with the hashtag #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone trending worldwide and other actors weighing in with put-downs of their own.

So after such a massive public relations failure, we imagine the team at TIO are having crisis talks to assess where they went wrong. But as far as we can see, it really comes down to two major blunders: posting the photo in the first place, then trying to justify it with the kind of sexist statements we all thought had been left behind with the last century.

In any case, we hope that lessons have been learnt and urge the TOI to swallow their pride and give Deepika a full and frank apology, like she should have received as soon as this thing kicked off in the first place.