A t-shirt company has apologised and pulled down an “offensive” Facebook joke it had posted after complaints that it was homophobic, insensitive and trivialised rape.
The joke, posted after Chris Gayle smashed 175 runs in a T20 match on Tuesday, said that when one man raped another he was called gay, but when one man raped 11 men, he was called Gayle.
The post garnered 18,000 likes and was shared 15,000 times. After objections, the company retracted the post on Wednesday and made an online apology.
“… had no initial intention to address gays as rapists or to make a sick rape joke,” said the post.
“Perhaps that joke could have been framed in a better way… Rape is a very sensitive issue in our country and rape jokes should not be entertained. You are free to report such pictures to Facebook officials… We are not against gays, and also Chris Gayle, if you are reading this, no offence…”
Many people had reacted to the joke saying it stereotyped the gay community, and made light of a serious crime.
“We dismiss some of these jokes as we can’t get too politically correct …but connecting an act with an identity is trying to say that just because you are gay, you come into the same league as a rapist,” said Pallav Patankar, director HIV programmes, Humsafar Trust.
“Given concurrent events, the post was in bad taste and came at the wrong time. And to connect a marginalised community with a heinous act further marginalises it.”
About 20 minutes after a call to the customer care line of the company on Thursday, the post was taken down and the apology was posted online.
Harish Iyer, who made the call complaining that the joke was objectionable, said that the company reacted swiftly to his complaint.
“We said you have no business doing this and they told me they would apologise,” said Iyer, 34, a media professional.