Days after trigerring a controversy with its expletives-laden show, an AIB-knockout team on Monday offered an unconditional apology to the Archdiocese of Bombay and the Christian community “for any offence caused to religious sentiments as a result of our jokes”.
The apology comes within days of the AIB stating on social media that the team stood by the belief in the “right to absolute freedom of expression for us and for anyone who has anything to say about anything at all”.
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The team comprising comedians Rohan Joshi, Abish Mathew, Ashish Shakya and Tanmay Bhat met Auxiliary Bishop Agnelo Gracias on Monday to issue the apology.
“We would also like to reiterate that the jokes at the AIB Knockout were not intended as a form of persecution or malice towards any community, for that is not who we are, or what we stand for. We explained that while writing jokes, no matter the subject, we never intend to hurt anyone, though we now realize that as an unfortunate consequence of the nature of our profession, we sometimes do offend, and we’re sorry about that,” AIB team’s letter posted on its Twitter page stated.
The AIB Knockout’s live show and its recording on YouTube had social media abuzz with the roast of Bollywood actors Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh with Karan Johar acting as “roastmaster” of the show in front of a 4,000-strong crowd at a Worli staidum.
Last week, five Christian organisations had approached the Tardeo police against the AIB Knockout show, alleging its content insulted Jesus Christ and painted Catholic priests as molesters.
The Archdiocese seemed to have been satisfied with the apology tendered.
“The team met us and apologised for having offended Christians. It was nice that they did that, because such matters should be resolved by frank and patient conservations. We also advocate freedom of speech but the speech should not offend people’s faith,” said Auxiliary Bishop Gracias.
The archbishop of Mumbai, cardinal Oswald Gracias, is currently at Vatican and will be back on February 16.
The apology by the group met with severe criticism on Twitter, with supporters of AIB condemning the group for having succumbed to pressure and resorting to “selective” apology.
The expletive-laced show is already being probed by the Maharashtra government after several organisations filed complaints against the alleged obscene nature of the content. Censor board’s member Ashoke Pandit too had come out heavily against it.
The “Roast” is actually a genre of “insult comedy” broadcast online or at live performances. In the AIB Knockout, actors Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh were roasted by a panel comprising Karan Johar, Rajeev Masand, Raghu Ram and the entire AIB team last month while about 4,000 people watched. The show was held for charity.
— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) February 9, 2015