The hostile exchange took place during a "fire side chat" between Chopra and the founder and C.E.O. of Beautycon, Moj Mahdara, when Ayesha Malik, a 28-year-old beauty influencer used question time to criticise Chopra over a Feb. 26 tweet that read “Jai Hind” (“Long Live India”) and “#IndianArmedForces.”
For some context, The tweet in question came at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan, which is majority Muslim, and India, which is majority Hindu.
“It was kind of hard hearing you talk about humanity because as your neighbor, a Pakistani, I know you’re a bit of a hypocrite,” Ms. Malik said. “You’re a UNICEF ambassador for peace and you’re encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan. There’s no winner in this.”
While she was speaking, Ms. Malik's microphone was taken away.
Ms. Chopra asked if Ms. Malik was done “venting,” and then responded that while she doesn’t support war, she does support India.
“I have many, many friends from Pakistan, and I am from India, and war is not something that I’m really fond of but I am patriotic,” Ms. Chopra said. “So I’m sorry if I hurt sentiments to people who do love me and have loved me, but I think that all of us have a sort of middle ground that we all have to walk.”
Following this prickly exchange the issue has escalated, with many calling for Chopra to be removed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.
We definitely don't agree that one tweet should discount all the great work Chopra has done, both with her humanitarian work for UNICEF and the UN and the way she uses her platform to champion gender equality. However, this showdown does raise an interesting debate about celebrity advocacy.
In a piece written for The Independent titled 'Priyanka Chopra gaslit me at BeautyCon for criticising her over her ‘Jai Hind’ tweets – this is why I called her out' Malik wrote:
'I grabbed that microphone not to shame someone, or take credit or the spotlight away from the people really promoting peace, but to point out that the comments and actions of a UNICEF ambassador — a title meant to advocate for peace over national identity and allegiances — should be in line with their duties, not their personal allegiances.'
It is an interesting point and one that seems relevant considering we live in an age where Donald Trump is President and Instagram is influencing elections, but at the same time one has to ask, are we holding celebrities up to an impossible standard of perfection?