Courting Controversy

Actor Priyanka Chopra apologises for ‘offensive’ episode on ‘Quantico’ after facing online outrage

The episode, which was aired on June 1, invited the wrath of a section of Indian viewers for containing a plot twist involving a Hindu terrorist.

Actor Priyanka Chopra on Sunday apologised for an episode of her television drama Quantico that showed a Hindu terrorist plotting a terrorist attack in Manhattan with the intention of blaming it on Pakistan.

“I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico,” the actor said in a tweet. “That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.”

The fifth episode of the third season, which was aired on June 1, invited the wrath of a section of Indian viewers for containing a plot twist involving a Hindu terrorist. On Twitter, several Indians expressed anger at the insinuation that an Indian could be a terrorist. They took umbrage at the fact that Chopra could seemingly malign her own country.

In the episode ‘The Blood of Romeo’, Chopra’s character Alex Parrish and her team at the Federal Bureau of Investigation are on the trail of a potential terrorist activity that they believe has been orchestrated by Pakistan. But Parrish discovers that one of the terrorists wears a “rudraksh” chain, which leads her to infer that Hindu terrorists were behind the plan.

ABC Studios, the executive producers of Quantico, issued a statement on Friday apologising for the episode. “The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case, we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue,” read the statement. “It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.”

“The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, most of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it,” the ABC statement added. “She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series.”

The complicated relationship between India and Pakistan is a sore topic for both countries, and international commentary on it can be particularly prickly for some. Islamic terrorists have been a staple in American crime series, especially after the September 11, 2001, attacks. So when an episode that seems to be going along predictable lines threw up such a plot twist, it came as a surprise, especially at a time when the Indian government has been trying to disprove the existence of Hindu extremist groups.

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