Lionsgate Play India's launch has sparked off a new controversy for its advertisement starring Bollywood actress Sanjana Sanghi which is facing flak from netizens for "normalising" violence against men.
In the 53-second video clip posted on Twitter, a guy can be seen sitting on a couch with Sanjana and surfing the OTT shows on television. Unable to decide what to watch, the guy says, "It's so hard to find what to watch". Sanjana asks, "So what do we do next?"
As she tries to woo him by touching his face, she suddenly starts slapping until the guy says stop at the count of eight. She then says, "We are going to watch eight shows on the app". The advertisement ends by saying, "Don't do crazy things to find what to watch. Download Lionsgate Play".
Raging over this new commercial, netizens took to social media to express their views and also tagged the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), urging them to take action.
Imagine the guy slapping the girl to decide which tv show to watch. Violence against men also is an offence!! @ascionline please take notice of this advertisement— Prithvi Burgula (@PrithviBurgula) December 8, 2020
What a deplorable and pathetic advert! Sack the agency-client that agreed to this. https://t.co/dk0p2NJRt9— TheCalmDev™ (@TheCalmDev) December 9, 2020
Calling it "absolutely horrifying", Bollywood actress and talk show host Pooja Bedi questioned, "What if a man was slapping a woman in this advertisement?"
Absolutely HORRIFIED 2 watch this advt. Domestic violence against men is NOT acceptable. What if a man was slapping a woman in this advt? This should NEVER CLEAR an advertising board! #men have rights! #domesticviolence@sharmarekha @smritiirani @DeepikaBhardwaj @amitdeshmra https://t.co/9yph7VMuAw— Pooja Bedi (@poojabeditweets) December 9, 2020
Pointing out the sexist and violent take on the advertisement, some netizens also decided to boycott the OTT platform.
WHAT!Who thought of this & then approved it??? Disgusting.What next - hit a woman? A senior citizen? A child? An animal maybe? Oh if all those choices seem wrong then HOW IS THIS RIGHT??? @lionsgateplayIN if this is your advert then I have no intention of checking ur shows out https://t.co/sVax9KyM1H— Anku Pande Chibb (@ankupande) December 9, 2020
Hi @lionsgateplayIN, @sanjanasanghi96 can you explain why you've normalised and even humourised domestic violence like this? How exactly is this funny, or even relevant to the product you're trying to sell? https://t.co/WPYP02cjGV— Ritangshu Bhattacharya (@RitangshuB) December 6, 2020
When did violence become a subject matter of Comedy?! 😡— Sukanya - A viewer and Admirer.. (@Sukanya101828) December 7, 2020
Terrible levels of display of Sexism😡😡
Take down this ridiculous so called Ad!! https://t.co/TOoHzVBqYj
Apart from India, Lionsgate Play has launched its services in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. The streaming platform brings several notable Hollywood titles and it aims to create more "Indian originals in the coming months".