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Indian Moviegoers Protest Richard Gere's Public Displays of Affection


A public display of affection got Richard Gere in trouble with Indian moviegoers. Irate fans burned the Hollywood actor in effigy April 16, after he repeatedly kissed movie actress Shilpa Shetty during an AIDS awareness event in New Delhi.

The 58-year-old Gere was in India to participate in a safe sex campaign directed at truck drivers. Of all nations, India has the largest number of people living with HIV. During the ceremony, Gere repeatedly kissed Shetty's hand and cheeks.

Protesters say the actions, shown repeatedly on Indian television, violate standards of propriety. Thirty-one-year-old Shilpa Shetty attracted headlines earlier this year after winning Britain's "Celebrity Big Brother" reality TV contest. Her spokesman Dale Bhagwagar said the media should concentrate on AIDS education rather than sensationalizing trivial incidents.

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