Veteran actor Susan Sarandon, the “Thelma & Louise” star, has become the latest international celebrity to back the farmers’ protest, after a tweet by pop star Rihanna built into a groundswell of support.
Jumping on to the bandwagon, she said despite attempts to silence the “most vulnerable,” Indian leaders should remember the world is watching them. She also shared a news report by Al Jazeera, headlined, “Free speech under threat as India clamps down on farmer protests.” She explained that ‘‘corporate greed and exploitation know no bounds, not only in the US but worldwide.’’
Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, Meena Harris, an American lawyer and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, actor Amanda Cerni, singers Jay Sean, Dr Zeus and former adult star Mia Khalifa have also supported the protesting farmers. The government had criticised the tweets by Rihanna and other celebrities.
India’s ongoing farmers’ protest has drawn attention from the international media as well as well-known public figures from across the world. Now, the protest has gone “viral” after a group lending support to the agitation took out a Super Bowl ad on the farmers’ protest.
For football fans in the US, the National Football League (NFL) championship game between the champions of the National and the American Football Conferences is one of the biggest events of the year. And each year, the Super Bowl advertisements are a sight to behold – as the biggest companies put forth their most expensive advertisements, often featuring major celebrities. Over the years, the Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon by themselves. In 2021 however, the Super Bowl ads are making news headlines for a different reason.
“India take back the farm bills,” reads the opening slide of the advertisement. The short clip features Mayor Jerry Dyer of California’s Fresno, and names pop star and businesswoman Rihanna who sparked off the international discussion.
There are however some baffling aspects to the clip, beginning as it does by informing the audience that ” hundreds of thousands of farmers have shut down access to the Punjabi capital. Calling it the “largest protest in history”, the video also holds the Indian administration accountable for seven human rights violations – from cutting off internet access to “arresting journalists” and “beating protestors”.
While the short clip does not provide much by way of context or details about the Indian protests, it has certainly become a talking point online. The clip has been shared and remarked upon by many international personalities who had previously lent their support for the protests.
While it remains unclear as to who made the clip, or who paid for the expensive advertisement slot, the clip was aired in states beyond California. Going by prices from previous years however, it is likely to have been an exceedingly expensive venture. Reports suggest that a 30-second ad slot can cost up to $5.5 million (in 2021).
A Twitter post by the Kisan Ekta Morcha indicates that the ad was the work of the Fresno City community. “Fresno City community put that ad during the Super Bowl. This is great work by community to aware people regarding Farmers Protest.
Source: Free Press Journal