Kunal Kamra vs Arnab Goswami: What Happened, Who Reacted and What’s Going On Now
Comedian Kunal Kamra approached journalist Arnab Goswami and their short encounter led to a verbal spat between the two. The former’s suspension from the IndiGo airline has stimulated mixed reactions
Something or the other pops up on social media every few days and takes the internet by storm. Be it pictures depicting PDA between couples, scandalous videos, shotgun weddings, surprising incidents or controversial remarks, they become viral in a jiffy and are followed by divided opinions and viewpoints from the billion online users. The recent case of comedian Kunal Kamra is proof of this. The artist was onboard an IndiGo flight when he crossed paths with journalist Arnab Goswami. Kamra approached Goswami and their short encounter led to a verbal spat between the two. And what followed was nothing short of a clash of the titans – or much rather, an ego game!
How it started
While Kamra claimed he was called “mentally unstable” by Goswami, he then posted a video clip on Twitter in which he can be overheard addressing the news anchor as a “coward” among other things. Tit-for-tat, we guess? Goswami can be seen looking at his laptop in the video, while turning a deaf ear to Kamra’s questions and comments. “Today, I met Arnab Goswami on a flight to Lucknow and politely asked him to have a conversation. I gave him a monologue about what I felt about his “journalism." He refused to answer any questions and called me mentally unstable," Kamra has said in a statement that he put out on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
I did this for my hero...— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 28, 2020
I did it for Rohit pic.twitter.com/aMSdiTanHo
Kamra’s attempt at making amends
This morning, the comic uploaded another post on Twitter. He wrote, “FYI – Arnab Goswami was on my flight again this morning while returning from Lucknow... I again asked him politely if he wants to have an honest discussion but he with his verbal arrogant hand jester asked me to move away and I did that.”
FYI - Arnab Goswami was in my— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 29, 2020
flight again this morning while returning from lucknow... I again asked him politely if he wants to have a honest discussion he with his verbal arrogant hand jester he asked me to move away & I did that...
IT DID NOT WORK!
Kamra’s suspension from IndiGo
Much to the dismay of Kamra and his fans, it did not take long for IndiGo to publish a statement with regard to the matter. Taking to its official Twitter handle, the airline’s team wrote, “In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behavior.” The notice also urged other passengers to beware in the future. “Hereby, we wish to advise our passengers to refrain from indulging in personal slander whilst onboard, as this can potentially compromise the safety of fellow passengers.”
@MoCA_GoI @HardeepSPuri In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr. Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour. 1/2— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) January 28, 2020
Kamra’s response to airline ban
The comedian reacted to IndiGo’s statement with a string of tweets. “It is not shocking at all to me that for exercising my right to speech, which falls under article 19 of our constitution, 3 airlines have given me a temporary ban from flying. Fact of the matter is that at no point was I disruptive and at no point did I not follow the orders of the cabin crew or the captain. At no point did I endanger the safety of any passenger on board,” he wrote. Taking a jibe at Goswami yet again, Kamra added, “The only damage I caused was to the inflated ego of ‘journalist’ Arnab Goswami.”
*My statement on my flight bans* pic.twitter.com/qWT2OawSmx— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 29, 2020
He continued, “Now let’s forget IndiGo for a moment. I haven’t even travelled SpiceJet or Air India in this event and there is no pattern here of me being unruly. This was the first time something like this happened, so why have they jumped the gun and banned me? I have travelled SpiceJet and Air India in the past. There have been no complaints against me ever, only selfies and love has been shared by the crew.”
Mixed feelings and opinions
While some defended Kamra while others begged to differ. Filmmaker Hansal Mehta termed the stand-up comedian’s heckling of Goswami as “uncool” but condemned extreme reaction of the airline for banning him. Hansal tweeted, “I used to know Arnab earlier – not exactly a friend but as someone passionate about news and debate. It is sad to see him becoming a preposterous, partisan and obnoxious servant of a dictatorial establishment. He symbolises the mostly comatose state of TV journalism in India.” He mentioned, “I did not like the way Kamra heckled Arnab on a flight. I felt it was unnecessary and uncool coming from someone who usually criticizes with such sharp wit. But seeing the even more uncool response by airlines (with govt blessings) to his behavior, I have mixed feelings.”
I used to know Arnab earlier - not exactly a friend but as someone passionate about news and debate. It is sad to see him becoming a preposterous, partisan and obnoxious servant of a dictatorial establishment. He symbolises the mostly comatose state of tv journalism in India.— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) January 29, 2020
MP Shashi Tharoor rooted all the way for Kamra. He penned, “The truth is that it was time someone gave him a taste of his own medicine. These are the words he regularly uses to berate his innocent victims, except he does so in a hectoring, bullying manner & at higher volume and pitch than Kunal Kamra does in this video.”
The truth is that it was time someone gave him a taste of his own medicine. These are the words he regularly uses to berate his innocent victims, except he does so in a hectoring, bullying manner & at higher volume & pitch than @kunalkamra88 does in this video. https://t.co/e94B8WcEtj— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 28, 2020
Some defended Goswami until the very end. One Twitter user wrote, “Very unfortunate from Kunal Kamra. Sri Arnab Goswami is an eminent journalist and news moderator who redefined the Indian News Media. I disagree and shout on him on 100 issues. But disrespecting & attacking him when he is on flight is ethically wrong.”
Very unfortunate from @kunalkamra88— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) January 28, 2020
Sri Arnab Goswami is an eminent journalist and news moderator who redefined the Indian News Media.
I disagree & shout on him on 100 issues. But disrespecting & attacking him when he is on flight is ethically wrong#ArnabGoswami https://t.co/mHZI4NeFMq
Bollywood star Richa Chadha referred to another incident when BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur had held up a passenger flight by more than 45 minutes over her choice of seat. She also shared the video where Thakur was seen arguing with aircraft personnel. She questioned why he was not banned then? “Is terror-accused, out-on-bail Pragya Thakur on any no-fly list?”
Is terror-accused, out-on-bail Pragya Thakur on any no-fly list?— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) January 29, 2020
Genuinely asking in light of this... a flight was held up and an elected representative said “first class is my right”.— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) January 29, 2020
Was she put on any no-fly list for causing a delay? We’re co-passengers who asked her persistent questions banned ? Does ANYONE have more info? https://t.co/kbEB2XgzEa pic.twitter.com/uXhbBZXzsC
Who do you think was right in the Kamra vs Goswami squabble? Share your thoughts in the comments below.