Quantico row: ABC and Priyanka Chopra have opened a Pandora's box by apologizing for the recent episode
After the show aired, some Indian fans were up in arms calling the actor, who had nothing to do with the script, an anti-national
ABC's 'Quantico' is in its last season and, from the looks of it, they just can't seem to do anything right. Although their storyline has considerably gotten better since the first episode, the viewers just refuse to cut the show any slack. After the Indian twitterati were angered by their episode 'The Blood of Romeo' after the plot portrayed a group of Indians as terrorists, the network, as well as actor Priyanka Chopra, publicly apologized for 'huting sentiments'. Their problems may have now gone beyond the poor ratings after their apologies as they may have just set a very unhealthy precedent.
The plot, written by David McWhirter and Adam Armus, follows the black ops gang as they try to figure out why a seemingly harmless physics professor from Hudson University has run off with a cache of weaponized Uranium-235. The culprits turn out to be an Indian extremist group. The subsequence bashing the show received appears quite illogical.
After the show aired, some Indian fans were up in arms calling the actor, who had nothing to do with the script, an anti-national. Priyanka Chopra, who plays Alex Parrish in the show, has her roots in India, both on screen and off screen. The backlash managed to extract an apology out of Priyanka where she took to Twitter to express her regret.
She tweeted, "I'm extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico. That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologize. I'm a proud Indian and that will never change." ABC too, sang the same tune.
They issued a statement, saying, "The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn't create the show, nor does she write or direct it. She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series."
While this appeared to be a desperate attempt at damage control, it wasn't well thought-out. At a time when the film and television industry is taking a stand for campaigns like #MeToo, Time's Up, pay disparity and lack of diversity, for a giant like ABC and a popular face like Chopra to give into such mindless internet trolls is pretty pathetic.
During this outrage, posters of Priyanka were burnt by Hindu militant groups in India and, recently, they targeted a writer from the show because she happened to be of Bangladeshi origin and a Muslim. Sharbari Zohra Ahmed, who was one of the writers for Quantico's first season received rape and violence threats on Twitter.
The writer was only a participant in the scriptwriting of two episodes that season. While she countered these threats with the fact that she had nothing to do with 'Blood of Romeo', she was harassed persistently.
One tweet said, "Care to explain your wildest fantasy while you wrote Quantico with Indians being masterminds of an attack? Does this stem from a deep-rooted bias, hate, anti-Hindu, pro-Islam conditioning of your fragile mind?"
A couple of Indian television channels blamed Priyanka for the episode and then found their way to Ahmed, who is a Bangladeshi-American. Speaking to BBC, the writer said, "The level of hysterics crescendoed very quickly. It has grown really vitriolic with threats of rape and violence even toward people supporting me.
All they had to do was search Google or look at the screen credits to find out the facts. I felt like they (ABC and Chopra) were capitulating to bullies. That's how fascism takes hold, it's a misplaced patriotism and nationalism that's now emblematic of a global phenomenon including the United States," she said.
The threats she received were also quite traumatizing.
The trolls even brought up a list of attacks that Muslims had been involved in.
What was the religion of
Paris- Charlie hebdo, football field
London bridge/ parliament
Mumbai local train blast
This Twitter outrage also brought up the question of who would apologize for generalizing Muslims. Fatima Bhutto, a writer from Pakistan, tweeted, "Super. We’ll be here waiting for an apology from Homeland, 24, Tyrant, Rambo, Zero Dark Thirty, American Sniper, Munich…"
Another user wrote, "Oh, I get it...It's fine when Muslims play the role of the terrorists but as soon as Indian Hindu Nationalists are responsible for the plot, @priyankachopra must come out and apologize??? Come on! #Quantico"
One of the trolls turned out to be a chef at a Michelin star restaurant in Dubai's JW Mariott. Celebrity chef Atul Kochhar decided to give his two cents on the whole fiasco accusing Priyanka Chopra.
He tweeted, "It is sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorized by Islam over 2,000 years. Shame on you." He went to delete the tweet soon after.
JW Mariott immediately issued a statement saying, "Following the recent comments made by chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal. With the termination of our agreement, chef Atul will no longer be associated with the restaurant," Bill Keffer, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, told the Gulf News, "At the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants."
He tweeted an apology later, quite fruitlessly, as Mariott has made no further statements reinstating their relationship.
The next episode of Quantico, 'The Heavens Fall', airs on June 15 on ABC and, although this row may help strengthen their numbers, it definitely makes them appear fickle in the eyes of the public.