Richard Gere: Kiss Controversy a Badge of Courage

Richard Gere: Kiss Controversy a Badge of Courage
Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty
Sanjay Jha / REX USA

04/09/2008 09:20AM

No humble pie for Richard Gere.

While the actor may have attempted to kiss and make up a year ago for his cultural gaffe of planting a public smooch on Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at an anti-AIDS show in New Delhi – Gere issued a formal apology after the incident – an apparently unrepentant Gere is now taking pride for having stirred the pot.

"It's a badge of somewhat insane courage," Gere, 58, told Reuters, citing others who had also been singled out for similar offenses. "It is a very complex society."

Gere's embrace and kiss of Shetty sparked several noisy demonstrations by hard-line Hindu groups and a flurry of legal complaints, which ended with a judge in Jaipur issuing a warrant for the arrest of the two stars for violating obscenity laws.

In March, India's Supreme Court suspended the legal proceedings and granted the actor the right to return to India.

This week, Gere was courting controversy again, this time in San Francisco to participate in a non-violent, pro-Tibet rally prior to Wednesday's scheduled arrival of the Olympic torch in the city.

The running of the flaming symbol is to signal the approach of the summer Olympics, to be held in China – though it is being reported that the protests greeting the torch may shut down the run altogether before it reaches London and Paris. China's government is being protested for its treatment of Tibet.

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