A few days ago, former MTV reality show star Ashish Choudhary was attacked by social media users after a Facebook post with insensitive comments on Tamils, said to be posted from his profile, went viral.
The youngster received quite a few not-so-charitable comments for the "irrational statement", and a girl named Anusha Natarajan's reply to him through another Facebook post had also gone viral on social media.
However, Ashish, who is now in New York, where he is studying theatre, claims the racist comments were posted by someone using a fake Facebook account with his name.
IBTimes India contacted Ashish, who is now quite upset at being targeted by people on social media
Asked why he is being targeted, he responded: "Fake profiles popped up ever since I did a reality show on MTV, but now I regret not reporting them years ago. I let it pass, thinking 'Ah, it doesn't matter'. Apparently, it does."
He also fielded a few more questions from IBTimes India.
- After getting the negative responses from people all over India, how do you feel?
I feek like there was a dirty storm and I was at the centre of it. How can one feel? Helplessness, sad, anxious and so much more. A whole pit of emotions. I have been so cut off from all this that when I first read the articles, it was extremely disturbing. I spent a lot of time thinking why me? Why now? Did anyone ever wonder that this could be a fake? What next?
- What do you have to tell social media users who attacked you on the basis of the Facebook post?
I am an ordinary guy who gets hurt just like you when a false accusation is made. Because we are in a world where social media is so active, it is a very powerful tool and everybody has the power to express themselves. But somehow, we must develop critical thinking and at least make an attempt to find the entire truth. I empathise with the people who lost something in these floods, and send out the energy of love, which is the most powerful thing in the universe.
- What do you have to say about Chennai floods?
An extremely difficult situation for the people, and as human beings, how can we not at least try to feel their pain! We all know how it feels to get hurt. I have family members in Chennai and I am extremely sensitive to what those people had to face. These are the moments of connecting and reaching out as a nation, to do the best we can under the circumstances.
However, with the advancement of social media, we find it difficult to determine what is true and what is fake these days. Many celebrities have become victims of cyber-attacks after fake accounts on their name were created on social media.