Shilpa Shetty cleared of 'obscenity' charges after 2007 incident

Shilpa Shetty has been cleared of "obscenity" charges nearly 15 years after she was kissed on stage by Richard Gere.

The Bollywood actress appeared with the 'Pretty Woman' star at an AIDS awareness event in Mumbai back in March 2007, when Richard hugged her and kissed her cheek several times in front of a crowd.

Shilpa and Richard came under scrutiny after the incident and it sparked protests from some radical Hindu groups who considered it to be an insult to Indian values.

However, a court in Mumbai has now ruled the charges "groundless" and suggested that Shilpa, 46, was the victim of an unwanted advance.

The order said: "It seems that... Shilpa Shetty is the victim of the alleged act of accused No 1 (Richard Gere)."

Richard was initially charged after the incident – which parodied a scene from his movie 'Shall We Dance' – but apologized and claimed that he was trying to demonstrate that kissing was a safe activity that could not lead to HIV transmission.

In a statement at the time, the 72-year-old actor said: "What is most important to me is that my intentions as an HIV/AIDS advocate be made clear, and that my friends in India understand that it has never been, nor could it ever be, my intention to offend you."

Shilpa previously defended Richard's actions as an attempt to entertain the audience, although she confessed that his actions had "embarrassed" her.

Speaking soon after the controversy, she said: "He especially told me to tell the media that he didn't want to hurt any sensibilities, any Indian sensibilities, and he apologized to me profusely. I was embarrassed."

Originally published on the TownNews Content Exchange.

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