Comedian Neville Shah Criticised for Casteist Comments
Neville then issued an apology citing personal loss as a reason for his comments
Comedian Neville Shah received immense flak online for a section of his comedy routine on Amazon Prime where he makes casteist comments criticizing affirmative action in India in the form of reservations. Many pointed out that the routine was ableist and accused the comedian of being ignorant of his caste privilege and mocking an entire community for comic relief.
In the clip, Neville talks about his doctor's incompetency by claiming that he made a 'venn diagram' instead of a kidney. After establishing the premise that his doctor walked with a limp, he said, "Ya toh ye Dr. House hai aur mummy bach gayi (either he's Dr. House and my mother is saved)…or quota admission."
He further criticised the caste-based reservations in the country, claiming that students who avail the reservations do not have merit; an argument often used by savarna communities to invalidate Dalit and Bahujan professionals.
Several Twitter users have since then criticised his statements, arguing that his 'meritorious' arguments lacked researched and perpetuated microaggressions against communities that have been oppressed for generations.
Neville issued an apology the next day in a statement that read, "It's been more than 24 hours since a stand-up comedy clip of mine from 2016 has been brought to light. I apologize for the trauma, the anger and duress that the joke has caused a lot of people. I am sorry."
The statement further read, "It was taped a few months after the loss of my mother in 2016. The joke in question and a lot of the others are about me grieving and dealing with that loss. I was trying to convert my loss to words and in the course of that, if I have anyone or any community's feelings, I am truly sorry. I have read, heard and acknowledge most of what people are saying about the joke and about me and the privilege I hold."
He apologized for "unintentionally" hurting sentiments and added, "I truly apologize for my thoughtless remark on quote admissions. Certainly there is a lot more that I have to educate myself with, and I will continue to do so."
The apology also triggered disapproval. Many expressed their condolences for his personal loss but added that it doesn't absolve him of blame. One user wrote, "I still do not understand how a personal loss translates to casteist comments.. and i really do not care to look at responses from savarna lot who think 'joke is a joke'."
Recently, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah actor Munmun Dutta was booked under the SC and ST Act for using a casteist slur in her video. Cricketer Yuvraj Singh was also called out for his casteist comments during a live video.
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