MUMBAI: Hollywood actor Richard Gere has, in an interview to television channel NDTV, reacted to the whiplash that followed his on stage hug and kiss to actor Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS-awareness programme last week.
In an exclusive to NDTV, Gere has said,”This recent media storm and the extreme reactions that have followed it have taken me by complete surprise. What is most important to me is that my intentions be made clear and that the people of India understand it never has been and never will be my intention to offend Indian sensibilities.”
“After nearly ten years of charitable work in India, I assure you my actions were innocent and have been entirely removed from context. In celebration of incredible people and generous partnerships which have supported us and the Heroes Project in the supremely important fight against HIV/AIDS, my reprise of “Shall We Dance”, though perhaps a bit clumsy, has been perceived as an insult which could not be further from my intentions and at worse, has been presented as a disregard for Indian customs.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to Shilpa Shetty and her family for the trouble this has caused her,” Gere has been quoted as saying to the channel.