In a caustic article published on The Cut website on Tuesday, actress Priyanka Chopra has been called a “modern-day scam artist” with whom husband Nick Jonas shares a “fraudulent relationship against his will”. Chopra and Jonas, an American musician, got married in Jodhpur on December 1. The article, written by journalist Mariah Smith, is titled “Is Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s Love for Real?” – and attempts to prove that it is not. The article also portrays Chopra as a money-minded celebrity who calculatingly married the unassuming Jonas as a power move.
The Cut is a website that is brought out by the New York magazine, which is owned by New York Media LLC. Its “About Us” section describes The Cut as a “premier destination for women with stylish minds” that covers “politics, feminism, work, money, relationships, mental health, fashion and issues relating to equality”.
The 2,100-word article was roundly panned on social media from people across the globe. Social media users also criticised the piece as being racist and sexist because it accuses Chopra of trying to rise in the ranks in Hollywood by marrying an American celebrity, ignoring the fact that she has been a major star in India since 2003. Among those who tweeted about the piece is Sophie Turner, the actor from Games of Thrones who is engaged to Nick Jonas’s brother, Joe.
Apart from its racist and misogynist tone, the article fails to substantiate its deductions with evidence and passes off opinion as fact. For example, one sentence reads, “There’s something that not many people know, or choose to accept, about the global sensation that is Priyanka: She is a modern-day scam artist, in my opinion.”
Smith does little to explain why her “opinion” is something that “many people” should know, or “choose to accept”. The next sentence similarly blurs the line between conjecture and truth: “Nicholas Jonas married into a fraudulent relationship against his will this past Saturday, December the 1st, and I’ll tell you why I think so.”
Smith’s deductive skills are at their best when she offers what she considers to be evidence of Chopra’s cunning. She cites a Vogue article where Jonas explained how he met his future wife. According to the piece, Jonas sent Chopra a direct message on Twitter suggesting that they should meet. To this, Chopra reportedly responded saying “‘My team can read this. Why don’t you just text me.”
This short exchange leads Smith to conclude that “What she [Chopra] was really doing here was quite possibly dropping a hint to Nick that she was going to break his heart. Or, at the very least: She was indicating that he’d been added to the short list of Hollywood men that she and her team would test out for a possible romance.”
The article goes on to call Chopra’s ways of dealing with life and media “offensive Hollywoodness”, that dating is a “job” for her and that “her team” shops for her suitors, and attacked her love for the “high life”.
Smith goes on to make several other unsubstantiated allegations, but the icing on the cake is when she comes to one more conclusion on both Jonas and Chopra’s behalf. “All Nick wanted was a possible fling with Hollywood’s latest It Woman, but instead he wound up staring straight at a life sentence with a global scam artist. Even more upsetting, she’s a scam artist who never even took the time to make sure he was comfortable riding a horse before arranging for him to enter their wedding ceremony on horseback,” Smith surmises.
The article ends with words of advice for Jonas. “Nick, if you’re reading this, find that horse and gallop away as fast as you can!”
If the intent of this piece was to generate clicks through outrage, the strategy seems to have worked. As on Thursday afternoon, this was the top trending article on the website.
Meanwhile, the article’s sloppy constructions have also drawn attention.
Chopra and Jonas’s wedding was attended by a host of Hindi film industry celebrities, in addition to industrialist Mukesh Ambani and Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner who is engaged to Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas’s elder brother.
The wedding has also received some trolling on Twitter because of the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the guest list and the 75-foot train of the gown Chopra wore for her Christian wedding ceremony. One user noted that though right-wing trolls had attacked Chopra online for sitting cross-legged (evidently a sign of disrespect) and the length of her skirt while meeting Modi in 2017, the prime minister had no compunctions about attending her wedding.
After more than a decade of work in the Hindi film industry, which saw Chopra win five Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award for her acting performances, the actor made inroads into Hollywood after bagging the lead role in the now-cancelled American television series Quantico. It ran from 2015 to 2018. Her work in Hollywood includes roles in Baywatch (2017) and A Kid Like Jake (2018).
According to Vogue, Chopra and Jonas connected over text messages in 2016. They began appearing together publicly at events like the Met Ball and got engaged in July. Nick Jonas is one of three sons of actor and musician Kevin Jonas. The three Jonas brothers formed a pop group that tasted success through the 2000s before disbanding in 2013. Nick Jonas has since dabbled in theatre and television while continuing his career as a solo music artist.