Now even Times of India partner Huff​Po takes off on “seriously sexist tweet”

26 Sep,2014



By Ranjona Banerji


The poor Times of India. In this globalised world, the venerable old newspaper’s sex and trivia-filled website is once more the focus of world attention. And all because of one tweet about a film star’s cleavage that went wrong. As  media watchers will know, the matter escalated after that and was compounded to the nth degree by the editor of Bombay Times writing the worst open letter in the history of open letters – to use the kind of hyperbole so popular with Indian politicians. Even so, it was an appalling piece of writing.


Now the new scrutiny of the TOI website and glamour sections’ blatant sexism coupled with third class writing and then rolled in sleazy bad taste has hit even its international partner, web phenomenon The Huffington Post. This is what Huffington Post UK had to say: “Last week Times of India posted a seriously sexist tweet about Bollywood star Deepika Padukone. Now, as if to add insult to injury, the paper has called the actress a “hypocrite” for saying their behaviour was unacceptable.”


The Huffington Post tied up with The Times of India in August this year.


Since TOI’s fight with Padukone got so much social media play, it was not long before people noticed the other rubbish on TOI’s website. Like a story about how many big stars (female) had bad legs. The writer – I use the word loosely – had commented on the legs of many international and Indian stars. This particular story has since been deleted but this is what The Independent had to say about it:


The website Mumbaiwalla, which tracks and reports on high society happenings in Mumbai and India, wrote this excoriating piece on the Bombay Times letter to Padukone:


But the best response has undoubtedly come from India’s best-known (or should be best known) a stand up comedians and actors. This video by the group that calls itself All India Bakchod on an edit meeting at TOI is nothing short of brilliant.


For too long has the TOI management brazenly declared that journalists and editors know nothing, therefore legitimising the policy of letting marketing rule by catering to the lowest common denominator, selling news space and lowering the profile of its flagship “brand”. At the same time, the newspaper is what the group gets its legitimacy from. Frankly, this is what happens when you claim that anybody can be an editor and then pick the most unsuitable person for the job. In here is an underlying lesson for all media houses in India. Sometimes the Rupert Murdoch principle brings you straight to News of the World controversy and global discredit.


TOI has been going straight down that path held together only by the journalists who still do their jobs and all credit and commiserations to them. Having worked there for some years (now a decade ago) through some very difficult political times, I have always been careful in tempering my criticism because I have seen the good side! But subsequent events have shown – particularly the advent of Medianet just before I quit – just how low the group can go. And why they deserve nothing but contempt.


One last word of advice: please get rid of all those HR and marketing people pretending to be editors. They’re not doing you any favours and just making you a laughing stock.


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One response to “Now even Times of India partner Huff​Po takes off on “seriously sexist tweet””

  1. Ankit Swami says:

    This topic seems to be rounded earth. Having no ends.

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