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HomeOpinionsPublicity stunts, perversion and harassment: How attention seekers have harassed Neeraj Chopra for their...

Publicity stunts, perversion and harassment: How attention seekers have harassed Neeraj Chopra for their 2 minutes of fame

Whether crores of people want to know about something or not, journalists, webinar hosts, anchors, RJs and others don’t go around shedding their sedate behaviour and put their interviewees in awkward situations. What Sethi did to Neeraj was, without a shred of doubt, beyond the pale.

There seems to be no end to the harassment that javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra had to endure after racking up a gold medal at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. After Neeraj toughed out what appeared to be a brutally agonising video call with RJ Malishka Mendonsa and her female colleagues, he was subjected to harassment once again. This time, it was by a relatively lesser-known ‘Art Historian’ Rajeev Sethi, who presumptuously probed the Olympic Gold medalist with questions related to his sex life.

Naturally, such unwarranted questions had Neeraj at his wit’s end, with discomfort writ large on his face. He tried to navigate the uncomfortable question by sarcastically responding that his heart was overwhelmed by the question. It might have even led Chopra to contemplate if he had signed up for this Indian Express event to answer such deeply personal questions.

Nevertheless, the clip of the event when Rajeev Sethi inquires about Chopra’s sex life instantly went viral on the internet, with scores of people slamming Indian Express, the organiser of the event, and Rajeev Sethi for making the Olympic Champion uncomfortable with his prying questions.

Before asking the question, Rajeev Sethi exclaimed, “What a handsome young man you are!” Then he goes on to say that crores of Indians want to ask him something but are hesitant. Then he proceeds to ask, “How do you maintain a balance between your sex life and athletic training? I know this is a weird question.”

Uncomfortable with the question, Neeraj Chopra responded, “Sorry, sir. I have said sorry, you can know my answer from that.” Rajeev Sethi did not stop there and proceeded to elaborate his question in further detail, expressing a great desire to know more about the Gold Medalist’s sex life.

When the art historian attempted to apologise for the question, a disgusted Neeraj Chopra replied, “My heart is overwhelmed by your question.”

RJ Malishka Mendonsa of Red FM dances for Olympic Gold Medalist Neeraj Chopra, asks him for ‘jhappi’

Now, this was not the first time that the athlete had to endure an unpleasant experience. A couple of weeks back, RJ Malishka along with her Radio FM staff broke out into an impromptu jig to the tunes of ‘Ude Jab jab zulfein teri’ and asked for an online bear hug from the Olympic Gold medalist.

In an exclusive interview with Chopra on the Red FM channel, Malishka was seen putting up a ‘dance show’ for him along with other staff members. Despite Chopra looking uncomfortable, the radio jockey and her team did not stop from gyrating to tunes of ‘Ude Jab jab zulfein teri.’ The Olympic gold medalist smiled awkwardly through the ‘performance’.

The radio jockey later even took to her social media accounts to gloat over the ‘performance’ she and her female office colleagues had performed during their interview with the Olympic Gold medalist, notwithstanding the possibility that Chopra might have been inwardly cringing and feeling awkward for what he had to put up with.

Before Malishka Mendonsa rose to prominence for objectifying Neeraj Chopra, Times Now journalist Navika Kumar had also become the subject of social media criticism after she kept on pestering the 23-year-old Olympian about his relationship status, prompting netizens to call her ‘gossip aunty.’

Rajeev Sethi consumed by perverse obsession to pry about Neeraj’s sex life

Weeks later, Neeraj found himself in a similar predicament after ‘Art Historian’ Rajeev Sethi asked him to elaborate on his sex life, asserting that crores of Indians are curious about it.

First of all, it is a bit far-fetched to claim that “crores” of Indians wanted to know about Neeraj Chopra’s sex life. It’s humanly impossible to survey billions of Indians in such a short span of time to seek what they want to ask from Neeraj Chopra.

In all probability, most of the people surveyed (assuming that Sethi might have sought questions to be asked to Neeraj Chopra on his social media accounts), would have been curious to know about how Chopra prepared for the event, what his thoughts were while participating in the competition and how he felt after winning a gold medal for the country.

The interview should have been restricted to exploring those facets of Neeraj’s life, not about a prurient inquiry into his sex life, which is, anyway his personal matter and not for the discussion of the entire world. Neeraj, or for that matter any athlete, alone holds the prerogative of discussing their sex life, if and when he or she feels comfortable sharing details about it.

In fact, in order to add credence to his intrusive question seeking details of Chopra’s sex life, Sethi cited the supposed inquisitiveness of billions of Indians who were allegedly interested in knowing about the athlete’s sexual matters.

Lesser-known ‘Art Historians’, Radio Jockeys leech off Neeraj’s fame and achievement

Whether crores of people want to know about something or not, journalists, webinar hosts, anchors, RJs and others don’t go around shedding their sedate behaviour and put their interviewees in awkward situations. What Sethi did to Neeraj was, without a shred of doubt, beyond the pale. And his response to the question, his body language, the sarcastic undertone of his response—all elicited how uncomfortable Neeraj was with Sethi’s line of questioning.

However, it seems that lesser-known ‘Art Historians’, ‘Radio Jockeys’ and other inconsequential individuals like to indulge in cringe-worthy and scandalous behaviour with popular celebrities, as a part of a publicity stunt to stoke outrage, which in turn helps them in catapulting themselves out of the abyss of obscurity.

Sethi’s pestering questions to Neeraj Chopra about his sex life appears to be an attempt by the ‘Art Historian’ to banish his state of obscurity and propel himself towards relevance. Fewer people knew about Rajeev Sethi before his interview with Neeraj Chopra. After the video clip of his interaction with the Olympian went viral, there are obviously more people talking about him than they were before the interview.

Neeraj’s professional life should be the focus, not his sexual life

Neeraj has brought the elusive Gold medal for the country. He even might be having a dashing personality. Some might even find him charming and endearing. But that is no sanction for the exploitative media and individuals to profit off Neeraj’s achievements by sexualising him and peppering him with questions he is visibly uncomfortable answering.

Perhaps, it’s time for the media and people like Sethi to shift their attention from prying too inquisitively about an athlete’s sexual life to the amount of hard work, dedication and practice he has invested in the sport to win a gold medal at the prestigious Olympics. This would not only save them from the ensuing embarrassment of making their interviewee uncomfortable, but it would also help in inspiring thousands of other athletes out there who are dreaming of representing India and winning a gold medal for her in the world’s largest sporting competition.

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Jinit Jain
Jinit Jain
Writer. Learner. Cricket Enthusiast.

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