Shilpa Shetty cleared of ‘obscenity’ 14 years after Richard Gere kiss sparked outrage


Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty is finally cleared in ‘obscenity’ case 14 YEARS after riots broke out across India when Richard Gere kissed her on the cheek and the actress ‘did not protest’

  • Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty fronted an AIDs awareness event in India in 2007
  • Mr Gere embraced and repeatedly kissed the Bollywood actress on the cheek 
  • Kiss caused outrage, sparking riots during which effigies of the pair were burned
  • Ms Shetty was also charged with ‘obscenity’ for failing to resist the kiss, but the case against her was dismissed by a judge on Monday 


Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty has been cleared of obscenity charges brought against her 14 years ago when actor Richard Gere kissed her at an AIDs awareness event.

Ms Shetty, now 46, had been accused of failing to resist Mr Gere’s advances when he repeatedly embraced her and kissed her cheek during a benefit gig in India in 2007.

The incident, which took place the same year Ms Shetty appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, caused outrage – sparking riots during which effigies of the pair were burned in the streets.

Three court cases were also filed against Ms Shetty, though all charges have now been dismissed after a judge ruled she had been the ‘victim’ of Mr Gere’s affections.

Rioters burn a poster of Ms Shetty

Shilpa Shetty has been cleared of causing ‘obscenity’ for failing to resist a kiss from Richard Gere during a 2007 AIDs benefit gig which sparked riots in India (right)

Magistrate Ketki Chavan, sitting at Mumbai supreme court, ruled on Monday: ‘It seems that the accused Shilpa Shetty is the victim of the alleged act.

‘Not a single element of any of the alleged offences has been satisfied in the complaint.’

A judge found that Ms Shetty (pictured last year) had been the victim of unwanted attention from Mr Gere

A judge found that Ms Shetty (pictured last year) had been the victim of unwanted attention from Mr Gere

Ms Shetty has not commented on the dismissal, instead sharing a post about happiness on her Instagram page Tuesday.

‘Being happy is in your hands. Don’t wait for another person, or the weekend, or a special occasion to bring you joy and happiness,’ the post said.

‘Do whatever it is that makes you happy. Your mind, body, heart, and soul will thank you in abundance.’

Ms Shetty and Mr Gere had been helping to promote an AIDS awareness event in Rajasthan in 2007 when the now-infamous kiss took place.

Photos show how the American actor took Ms Shetty’s hand and kissed it, before embracing her and kissing her multiple times on the cheek.

He later said the spontaneous act had been designed to show that kissing was not dangerous and could not spread the virus. 

But the incident sparked protests among India’s religious conservatives, who branded it an outrage and took to the streets in protest.

Some of the protests morphed into riots, with effigies of both actors burned in the streets with criminal charges filed against the pair. 

Religious conservatives led protests and accused the pair of spreading obscenity with the kiss, allegations which Ms Shetty dismissed at the time as 'lunatic'

Religious conservatives led protests and accused the pair of spreading obscenity with the kiss, allegations which Ms Shetty dismissed at the time as ‘lunatic’

Mr Gere apologised, while Ms Shetty blamed the riots on India’s ‘lunatic fringe’ and said the incident had been over-blown.

Charges against Mr Gere were quickly dropped – allowing him to return to the country to meet with the Dalai Lama – but those against Ms Shetty were left languishing in India’s justice system.

In 2017 her lawyers had applied to have the case moved from Rajasthan to Mumbai, and on Monday a magistrate finally got around to giving a ruling.

Ms Shetty is perhaps best known outside of India for her appearance on British reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.

The series was engulfed by scandal after she was subjected to racist bullying by other contestants.

She has also been in the news recently after husband Raj Kundra was arrested last year on pornography charges. 



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