Days after the arrest of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui for allegedly making incendiary jokes on Hindu deities, another stand-up comedian is facing heat on social media. Comedian Daniel Fernandez is being called out by certain sections of social media users for making jokes about Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
A compilation of clippings has gone viral on YouTube in which the Mumbai-based artist, best known for his work in dark comedy and surreal humour, can be seen making jokes on the media coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput's death and India's obsession with the arrest of actor and his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty (which he referred to as a witch-hunt) in the name of 'Justice for SSR'.
In the skits, Fernandez can also be seen making jokes on mental health in a self-deprecating manner.
As the video went viral, calls for boycotting the comedian rose and the volley soon turned to a call for arresting the artist. Many so-called "fans" of Rajput have also been insinuating harm befalling Fernandez while others reproached the comedian for making jokes about the dead. Some went as far as to wish pain and 'anguish' for Fernandez's family.
The worst thing you could do as a stand-up comedian is making jokes on a tragedy.Dislike and mass report this video for making jokes on Sushant Singh Rajput death.https://t.co/gqrKX7BhqF— (@saketjaiswal_sj) January 11, 2021
Pained after seeing this video.This comedian is making fun of a dead person who can't defend himself.The level of humour is crass, to say the least.It does not matter whether Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide or it was homicide, what give you the license to defame the dead? https://t.co/LnMCe3s8hD— Soumyadipta (@Soumyadipta) January 11, 2021
It's a paid pr to ridicule the justice movement. Comedians are tools of propaganda.— Che ! (@InsanelyBuddha) January 11, 2021
Daniel Fernandez is not free from Karma and his faith. I wish the same anguish on him like Disha and Sushant's families so good sense prevails. And forgive me God. #WhereIsJustice4SSR https://t.co/7Xbas4NKHu— Girlwithdragontattoo (@Girlwithdragon4) January 11, 2021
Following the outrage, Fernandez issued an apology on his Instagram page, adding that an apology was rightly in order as some fans of Rajput had suggested.
"As a comedian, my intention is to...to make you laugh. But sometimes, in that endeavour I might invoke an unfavourable response," Fernandez wrote. "That being said, I would like to address my mistake".
Fernandez went on to observe that while Rhea was out of prison on bail, the artist had in his performance in Pune mistakenly stated that she had been acquitted. The insinuation that Rhea Chakraborty had been acquitted of all charges related to the death of Rajput and the subsequent drug case investigated by the NCB was factually incorrect.
The artist, however, refused to bow down to bullies and stated that he stood by everything else he said.
But the apology seems to have irked fans even more, many of whom claimed that the 'clever apology' was not acceptable.
I am NOT accepting this clever apology by Daniel Fernandes, because...1. You don't speak ill about a dead person who can't defend himself.2. You don't target a family who are in the dark about how they lost a loved one.3. You can't berate people for not writing correct English pic.twitter.com/wC3LCocXBj— Soumyadipta (@Soumyadipta) January 12, 2021
Family of @itsSSR Pls File Legal Suit Against Him!!He is not sorry for what he said!!Except"factually incorrect - RHEA been ACQUITTED"!@nilotpalm3 @vikassinghSrAdvWhy Mock the dead, When his death is under investigation by top 3 Central Agencies!#PrioritizeSSRJustice pic.twitter.com/IA7pZGSc2C— Deepika (@Deepika9813) January 12, 2021
In previous interviews, Fernandez had stated that he himself dealt with mental health and anxiety issues.
The incident occurred days after Munawar Faruqui and four others were arrested for allegedly passing indecent remarks against Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a show at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The arrest caused widespread outrage on social media with many calling it an attack on free speech. Critics of the arrest and fans of Faruqui have even observed that Faruqui never really made the alleged remarks for which he was arrested.