Actor Siddharth has apologised for his unsavoury remark on ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, who said she was happy to accept his acknowledgement of being rude while criticising her expression of concern for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security recently.
Siddharth kicked up a storm by posting "subtle cock champion of the world" for Saina while commenting on her tweet expressing concern on the Prime Minister's security breach in Punjab a few days ago.
Following strong criticism on social media for his comment, Siddharth said that "nothing disrespectful was intended" but on Tuesday night, he offered an apology acknowledging that his "tone and words" couldn't be justified.
In an open letter published on Twitter, the "Rang De Basanti" actor wrote, "Dear Saina, I want to apologise to you for my rude joke that I wrote as a response to a tweet of yours, a few days ago." "I may disagree with you on many things but even my disappointment or anger when I read your tweet, cannot justify my tone and words. I know I have more grace in me than that.
"As for the joke... If a joke needs to be explained, then it wasn't a very good joke to begin with. Sorry about a joke that didn't land," he added.
Saina, who is a member of the ruling BJP, said she is glad that Siddharth admitted to his comments not being in good taste.
"He only said it and he is now apologising. I was surprised to see myself trending on Twitter that day. I haven't spoken to him but I am happy that he apologised," she said on the sidelines of the ongoing India Open in Delhi.
"See, it is about women, he shouldn't target a woman like that but it's okay, I am not bothered about it, I am happy in my space and god bless him," she added.
The 42-year-old actor claimed to be a "staunch feminist" and asserted he would never say anything to a woman with a "malicious intent".
Siddharth hoped that the badminton star, who is a former world number one and a trailblazer in Indian sports, would accept his apology.
"...my word play and humour had none of the malicious intent that so many people from all quarters have attributed to it. I am a staunch feminist ally and I assure you there was no gender implied in my tweet and certainly no intent to attack you as a woman.
"I hope we can put this behind us and that you will accept my letter. You will always be my Champion. Honestly, Siddharth," he added.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) had asked Twitter India to "immediately" block Siddharth's account, calling the comment misogynistic, and one that outraged the modesty of a woman.
NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma had also written to the Maharashtra DGP to investigate the matter and register an FIR against Siddharth.
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