Actor and filmmaker Pooja Bhatt has made her Instagram account private after receiving death and rape threats on social media. She says that if her fans wish to know what is happening in her life, they can send her follow requests.
Pooja shared a picture that read, “I don’t have the time, energy or interest in hating the haters; I am too busy loving the lovers.” With it, she wrote a long caption explaining why she chose to go private. “This has to be said. Instagram seems to have become a place where people anonymously & otherwise use their access to hurl abuse, threaten rape and goad you to ‘go die’. I used to ignore this sort of talk as I always believed that only people who are in pain themselves want to hurt another and also if you accept love, you must accept criticism too. But is someone wishing you and you family death, constructive criticism or just an attempt at vile cyber bullying? I have been advised to turn off all comments but by doing that you block out all the positive, well meaning constructive feedback as well. Why should I push back the people who give me good vibes for the ones that only spew venom towards people in general? But what I have done now is make my account private. You want access to my world? Make a request,” she said.
Earlier, Pooja’s sister Shaheen Bhatt had also talked about getting death threats online. Taking to Instagram stories, Shaheen shared screengrabs of the sort of hateful messages she has been receiving, and wrote, “A country where rather than being raised on empathy, most people are raised with the explicit permission to hate. A country where a woman is either your mother, your sister, your wife or a wh**e. A country where not just men, but women feel like the worst thing you can call another woman is a sl*t. Because what better way to render a woman powerless than to make her ashamed of being a woman. Ashamed of being herself. Because if she weren’t a woman would she still be debased, humiliated and threatened with violence and violation every day? Would she so casually be robbed of her security and sense of agency? You see. It’s genius. You abuse her. Yet, you try to convince her the problem is her. Not you.”
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Addressing Instagram, she wrote, “To Instagram- you have zero tolerance policies for a lot of the content that people put up on your platform – I think it’s fair to say that misogynistic slurs, intended to subdue and oppress *should* fall under the umbrella of your zero tolerance community guidelines. But if you don’t want to receive abusive message turn off your message requests `Tired of being called a b*tch in your comments? Turn off your comments. Asking me to change the way I use a platform because of someone else’s hatred and misogyny is the equivalent of telling me that if I go out at night and get assaulted ‘I was asking for it’. I should not have to change the way I use a platform if someone is being abusive. They should. Full stop.”
The Bhatt family is being targeted online ever since the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June. Alia Bhatt has also made her comment section private, allowing only those that she follows to comment on her posts
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