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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

We are like walking porn: Gabriella

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 11, 2011
First Published: 17:23 IST(11/5/2011) | Last Updated: 13:22 IST(13/5/2011)
IPL cheerleader Gabriella Pasqualotto of Mumbai Indians has kicked up the proverbial hornet’s nest. After the 22-year-old South African was fired from the team’s cheerleading squad for alleging on her blog that cricketers misbehaved with her at post-match parties, she has now started tweeting vitriol against the IPL management.

On Tuesday, after she was  sent back to South Africa, she tweeted from her handle @Iplgirl, “My blog was meant to be light and witty and not taken seriously or to heart… this should not have become such a scene…” She added, “My blog was not just based on the cricketers, I wrote only a few sentences about them and it seems it scared the S### out of them.”

While the IPL and Mumbai Indians management refused to comment on the matter, Pasqualotto has found support from other cheerleaders. “If she wrote that people treat us like ‘pieces of meat’, it’s true. At parties, once people are drunk, they get really touchy-freely and misbehave, assuming that we’re easy girls,” says a cheerleader, wishing not to be named. “We stand by you,” tweets another supporter, Mr.lix. 

IPL cheerleader Gabriella Pasqualotto of Mumbai Indians has kicked up the proverbial hornet’s nest.
Pasqualotto, one of the 40 cheergirls from South Africa created a furore when she started tweeting about her experiences as @IPLGirl. Later, she was approached by a website alternativecrickcet.com to write an anonymous blog, on which she wrote about flirtatious cricketers, and what happens at IPL parties. One of her fellow cheerleaders informed cricketers in the team who complained to the IPL chairman. Pasqualotto was sacked and sent home.

She told South African newspaper, The Witness, “I was sent home as if I was a criminal. I was treated as if I had taken drugs or done something awful, and I was never offered an opportunity to give my side of the story. It’s a joke. There were cameras everywhere at these after-parties, watching what they got up to. The guys treated us like a piece of meat. We couldn’t go anywhere without the crowds mobbing us. But nothing I wrote was directed at any one person. I think the cricketer [an Aussie] who complained had a guilty conscience.”
On her blog, she took on South African cricketer cricketer Graeme Smith, Jonty Rhodes and Albie Morkel and Australian cricketers Aiden Blizzard and Dan Christian. She named Indian cricketers  as “polite” and “keeping to themselves”.

Not everyone supports her stand. “I don’t know why she’s written this. I’ve always seen cheergirls having a great time at the parties,” says fashion choreographer Prasad Bidappa who organises IPL parties. “Cricketers are usually cautious at these parties, as media is present,” says an IPL official.

Controversy’s cheergirls
* 2008: Shiv Sena calls for a ban on scantily clad cheerleaders during IPL matches saying it’s against Indian culture
* 2009: Right-wing groups protest that most cheerleaders are foreigners and demand Indians be hired
* 2011: Some IPL teams introduce desi cheergirls, come under flak from fans who feel traditional dance forms don’t work on the field
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