At a recent Beautycon panel event in the US, Priyanka Chopra was questioned by a Pakistani girl about supporting war through her tweet, while being a UN ambassador. The mike was subsequently snatched from the girl and Priyanka responded in a very condescending tone, asking the girl if she was ‘Done Venting’ out.
Since then, all of social media has been on fire with people questioning Priyanka’s UN Peace Ambassador status.
Twitter reacted in February as one user commented:
“Are or were you really Unicef goodwill ambassador? I really don’t know how an artist can praise military actions and especially while being an ambassador of UN. I don’t think this world could ever see peace when peacemakers love wars. #NoWar#PakistanIndia“
However, in August recently, all was laid bare in broad daylight, (so to speak), as Priyanka responded with dry sarcasm, a condescending tone, and blatant disregard for her ambassador status.
Beginning her reply with, “Whenever you are done venting!” This is what Priyanka had to say:
This is how some twitter users responded:
“@priyankachopra if every body was there for love u wud have reacted when the security took the mike away from Ayesha Malik instead of using your arrogant tone. “
What was wrong about PC’s reaction on so many levels:
1. Her condescending TONE
2. Her complete disregard of her role as UN ambassador
3. Her lack of sensitivity towards a very grave issue. She should have exercised more caution, control and humility in her response on a very public forum. Instead, she chose sarcasm – ‘Done venting?’ Esp. Since her questioner was not being rude or offensive, this came out as a tad too aggressive.
4. Her inability to appear humble and admit, maybe, that she didn’t need to tweet on war? At least until she’s a UN Ambassador?
5. As a feminist, and a woman empowerment champion, she should have walked the talk. Priyanka should have asked her security to return the mike to the girl (after it was promptly snatched from her, she had to complete her question without a mike).
Our advice to her?
1. Granted you are Indian and you feel for your nation’s armed forces – being patriotic does not mean you have to support war! Especially if you are a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador! Kindly relinquish the UN role … some things are not meant for everyone.
2. Fix that tone girl. You need to fix that tone.
3. Sometimes the rule – Silence is Golden can reap greater rewards than using your Twitter handle recklessly.
4. Apologize. There is humility in accepting that you are human, And humility in admitting that you might have been wrong. It takes a big person to apologize and admit his/her mistakes – Priyanka, you have a lot of thinking to do!
Finally, in a world where social influencers and goodwill ambassadors can wield staggering power in changing mindsets and leading by example, Priyanka and others in her position need to exercize great caution in public. These are the times when their mettle is tested. When they’re put ‘on the spot’ to speak their minds.
It is all hunky dory when they attend pre-planned events, pose for photographs, meet and greet refugees and tweet socially acceptable messages on social media. It is in times when they are caught OFF guard, when they must speak from the heart, when there is no script, when they ARE, (or are not), the roles they have chosen to play, that the truth is laid bare.
Priyanka, you failed miserably today. And your failure is a message for others like you, a wake up call, that they must rise to the occasion, not stoop down, no matter who is standing before them. It is YOU who will be judged, YOU with the millions of Instagram followers, not that girl in the corner of the room, who had her 2 minutes of fame, who had the mike snatched from her to suppress her voice, whom people might forget tomorrow. But they won’t forget you … because you had the power to respond – you are the voice for millions, with a million eyes upon you. A lot rides upon your answer. When emotions run high, It is very easy to tweet war, and very hard to tweet peace. Do what is hard, because that is what your status demands of you.
A UNICEF Goodwill ambassador is not just a badge you wear for publicity – wear it with honour and give it the respect it deserves – or else, quit. There are many more deserving of this position.