I’m not backing down, says Anasuya Bharadwaj, as she stands up to age-shaming trolls

Vijay Deverakonda’s fans began trolling her for a cryptic tweet that alluded to Liger's poor showing and a 2017 incident.

ByY Krishna Jyothi

Published Aug 27, 2022 | 7:51 PMUpdatedAug 29, 2022 | 9:43 PM

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Television presenter and Telugu film actor Anasuya Bharadwaj has been all over Twitter since Thursday, 25 August, taking on online trolls and memers who have been age-shaming and target-trolling her with #Aunty (over 60,000 tweets).

Those targeting her are mostly Vijay Deverakonda’s fans who are unhappy with a cryptic tweet she had posted that day which read: “He (Deverakonda) got his karma back for disrespecting ‘mothers’ and not showing them dignity.”

This was clearly about his latest film Liger not doing too well at the box office — and a reference to the cuss word m*****c**d that Deverakonda had used during a promotional event for his 2017 film Arjun Reddy. He had then even urged and made his fans utter the derogatory word loudly.

His action had drawn flak from various quarters and Anasuya Bharadwaj was among the first to criticise him openly.

At that time, too, she had been trolled by the Arjun Reddy star’s fans, for her alleged hypocrisy — how it was okay for her to make lewd and derogatory remarks/gestures in her TV shows and films, but not off-screen — and also for her choice of attire.

This time, a fightback

This time, however, the Pushpa actor has decided she is not going to take the trolling lying down. And she is fighting back by raising her voice against online abuse and cyberbullying, even trending with hashtags like #SayNotoOnlineAbuse, #StopAgeShaming, and #StopCyberBullying.

And she has not limited herself to tit-for-tat responses online.

The star has approached the cyber crime cell of the police against the persons who are age-shaming and target-trolling her with #Aunty.

When contacted, Anasuya Bharadwaj told South First that she was vocal about issues even before entering the entertainment industry.

“I may not put an end to this, but I’m trying to change the way things have been, both in the industry and online. I don’t want anybody to normalise cyberbullying, abusing and trolling. Hence, I’m replying to every troll.”

The Rangasthalam actor, a mother of two, revealed that she did approach the police in this regard, saying: “I’ll make sure that at least a couple of these cyber bullies land in jail. Hope this will teach them some befitting lessons.”

She said that her legal team was at the moment compiling the evidence required to take down the trolls and would soon hand it all over to the police.

Faults star heroes for their silence

Anasuya has faulted the star heroes of Tollywood for not taking a stand against the actions of their fans.

“Why are not our heroes responding when women get trolled by their fans and imposters? Isn’t this their moral responsibility?” she asked.

“It’s unfortunate that star heroes like Pawan Kalyan, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR, and others never come out in the open against online trolling and abuse against female artists, even when there are laws against imposters and cyber-bullying. Why are they scared about losing a few fans? Or, are they apprehensive of losing their market for doing the right thing,” she wondered.

Sharing the screenshots of the derogatory remarks made by the abusers on her Twitter handle, the Rangastahalam actor said she had retweeted the posts of every abuser with an apt reply and hashtags (#SayNotoOnlineAbuse, #StopAgeShaming, #StopCyberBullying).

However, the hashtag #Aunty started trending in India with over 60,000 tweets targeting the actor as of 27 August.

“I’m not new to this. I’ve been facing age-shaming and slut-shaming ever since I said that I was happy to turn down the offer to do an item number in one of Pawan Kalyan’s films. I’m exhausted by all of this, but I would never give up or give in. Believe me, this is only making me strong,” she told South First.

“I’m happy that my husband and family are supporting me. Not all are lucky to have someone stand by them through thick and thin. Sadly, my own (film) fraternity didn’t take a stand for me when I’m being target-harassed: Not in the past, and not even now. But I’m not shaken and I’ll get through this,” the actor added.

Case filed against trolls

Meanwhile, the ex-host of Jabardasth filed a case with the Cyber Crime police on Monday, 29 August, against the online trolls for targeted harassment, cyber-bullying and mental harassment. Sharing a screenshot on her Twitter account, Anasuya said that she had been avoiding a police complaint for a long time, only to not spoil the future of “impulsive youth/people..but looks like what has to be done..should be done.”