Quantico star Priyanka Chopra made history by becoming the first Indian actor to get a leading role on an American prime-time TV show. However, Deadline is reporting that Chopra, 35, is now facing serious backlash from her Indian fans on social media over a recent episode of the show titled, “The Blood of Romeo,” which aired on Friday, June 1, on ABC.
The plot of the episode saw Chopra’s character, FBI Agent Alex Parrish, racing to stop a terrorist attack in NYC ahead of a summit between India and Pakistan. During the investigation, she realizes the culprits behind the planned attack are not Pakistani, as originally thought, but Indian when she notices one of the suspects wearing religious Hindu rosary beads around his neck, marking him and his accomplices as Indian Nationalists. She comes to the conclusion that they flew from India to the U.S. and intended to carry out this disastrous nuclear terror plot and put the blame on Pakistan.
— Ahmed Quraishi – TV Team (@Office_AQPk) June 7, 2018
As you might imagine, an Indian depicting her own culture as terrorists did not sit well with Chopra’s Indian fan base, who did not hesitate to express their anger on Twitter, going as far as to encourage all of her Indian fans to boycott her work over what they view as an act of betrayal to her country. Chopra was born and grew up in India before moving to America. Some even demanded that Samsung, the South Korean electronic company for which the actress is a brand ambassador for in India, drop her as well as other companies who endorse her in the country.
RT if you agree & tweet if you Support this. pic.twitter.com/PUI5K5QO3S
— Bhaiyyaji (@bhaiyyajispeaks) June 6, 2018
While ABC did not delete the scene in question, it did manage to prevent the episode from airing in India. But the damage was already done.
Sorry @priyankachopra I respect you very much the way you have inspired millions of Indian girls with your courage and talent. But here you have failed them tremendously. T Indian would have refused to be part of such a scene. his is not acceptable. https://t.co/r9SOii8r47
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) June 7, 2018
The myth of Hindu terror, by a fake story, enters American television with the help of Priyanka Chopra. Would any Pakistani actress betray Pakistan or Islam the way she betrays India and Hinduism? https://t.co/BbVJuClO0C
— Dr David Frawley (@davidfrawleyved) June 6, 2018
Josh Safran, Quantico's showrunner, said that Major rule of Quantico is that it never features a Muslim terrorist. So, Is that why they featured Hindu Terrorist?
I think Priyanka Chopra could asked for script changes because She'd already changed some dialogues in Quantico before
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) June 8, 2018
ABC and Quantico executive producers released a statement apologizing on Chopra’s behalf while defending her at the same time.
“ABC Studios and the executive producers of Quantico would like to extend an apology to our audience who were offended by the most recent episode, ‘The Blood of Romeo.” The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it. She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series.”
The company’s statement goes on to say that while the premise of the show is indeed fictional, it does admit that it “inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue.” ABC ended the apology by saying, “It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.”
As expected, Chopra herself took to Twitter to issue her own heartfelt and emotional apology Saturday.
I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico. That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I'm a proud Indian and that will never change.
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) June 9, 2018
Quantico is currently airing its third and final season. The show was canceled due to low ratings by ABC last month. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, despite the low ratings, the show generated a large international fan-base with “strong international sales,” particularly in India, which ABC and the show’s executive producers can thank Chopra for.
Quantico airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on ABC.