Cobrapost Says Celebs Agreed to Promote Political Parties for Cash
An investigation by Cobrapost claims that nearly three dozen Bollywood celebrities are willing to promote political parties on their own social media accounts for money in the run-up to the 2019 elections. It further alleges that the celebrities were willing to accept their fee in “cash, which means black money”.
Cobrapost, in its investigation, has claimed that they approached nearly 36 celebrities including singers, comedians, actors from the industry and they didn’t bat an eyelid before saying “yes” to promoting and even defending political parties on controversial issues like rape and fatal accidents for cash.
The Cobrapost team approached celebrities like Kailash Kher, Vivek Oberoi, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff, Shakti Kapoor, Rakhi Sawant, Amisha Patel, Sunny Leone and many others.
What Does the Cobrapost Investigation Say?
The expose claims that they asked these celebrities if they would be willing to promote a political party on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a fee. The investigation claims that a few celebrities accepted the offer and in fact tweeted even without being paid to show their eagerness.
The celebrities asked for fees ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 50 lakh per message. As per the expose, when singer Kailash Kher was approached, the singer accepted the offer instantly and said he was even willing to accept cash for promoting the party.
As per the claims made by Cobrapost, actor Jackie Shroff “cautioned to play the game keeping in view his age, yet he still went along the tide”. Shroff allegedly bargained for money before accepting the offer.
Actors Willing to Make ‘Controversial Tweets’ For Money, Cobrapost Alleges
The expose also alleges that actor-director Puneet Issar wasn’t hesitant to post “controversial tweets”.
Stand-up comedian Sunil Pal allegedly agreed to lampoon Congress President Rahul Gandhi for money. According to Cobrapost, the comedian even gave the team a live demonstration of how he would do it.
According to Cobrapost, it had sent questionnaires to all the celebrities featured in the sting, out of which it only received responses from Rajpal Yadav, Sonu Sood and Mahima Chaudhry.
While Rajpal Yadav’s team reportedly told Cobrapost that the actor was “unavailable till April to take any questions,” Sonu Sood purportedly wrote back, saying he had agreed to post favourable comments and made it clear that he wouldn't “demean any other political party or post anything that does not exist.” The idea, according to Sood, was to highlight the good work, which he feels is not wrong.
Claiming that she’s not active on social media, actor Mahima Chaudhry reportedly responded saying that she “didn’t agree to the offer.”
The responses of celebrities notwithstanding, Aniruddha Bahal told The Quint that the sting is alarming, as it exposes how the opinions of those we look up to in awe can be bought. “People who follow the opinion of these celebrities on social media can be easily misled and their opinion moulded according to the interests of political parties,” Bahal said.
However, the expose also claims that there were some actors like Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Soumya Tandon and Raza Murad who didn’t accept the offer.