India hates Richard Gere

Angry Indians burned and beat effigies of Richard Gere after he hugged Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and then kissed her on the hand and cheeks numerous times at an HIV/AIDS awareness event. Suffice to say, the public display of affection, largely taboo in the country, has caused outrage.

In Mumbai, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks and set fire to glamorous shots of Shetty.

Similar protests broke out in other cities, including Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, and in the northern town of Meerut, where crowds chanted “Down with Shilpa Shetty!”

Effigy burning isn’t too common in America, even though it sounds pretty cool. They should do one for all the socialites here. They can make the effigy 5 ft tall and set fire to it on their doorstep. Everyone will get the hint except Paris Hilton. She’ll think it was from her fans and suffer third degree burns hugging it.

The cool part of the story is the event was to highlight the growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS among India’s truck drivers. That’s like holding an event for dog attacks against paraplegic mailmen. Ok, not quite the same, but if the truck drivers were in wheelchairs it would be.

By the way, these photos aren’t from the event.

Richard GereRichard GereRichard GereRichard Gere