A video of actresses Saboor Aly and Saheefa Jabbar Khattak went viral on social media recently, with fans criticizing the two for mocking a window cleaner’s job. As the video spread like wildfire all over social media and gossip blogs, many pointed out the condescending tone of the actresses, their classist attitude and derogatory remarks.
Disgusted to the core … Aisay perhay likhay “ameer” aur “fankaar” logo’n say insaan mazdoor or Shareef behter… pic.twitter.com/CgOx99n76a
— madeha naqvi (@madehanaqvi) May 10, 2019
Distasteful comments from Saboor Aly & Saheefa Jabbar Khattak mocking a window cleaner. Tons of respect to #AffanWaheed who simply turned around & said the window cleaner is working hard. We need to take a long hard look at our behavior when we claim we are ‘artists’.
— Mahwash Ajaz (@mahwashajaz_) May 11, 2019
I feeling like crying looking at this. Why are Pakistani celebs so extra disgusting? The disconnect between the poor and ultra rich is so vast just in morality it's the difference between ghairat and actual ghalazat. Don't eat the rich – they're actual poison. https://t.co/UptWaFqc9j
— sana is in retrograde ♐ (@sanabajipls) May 10, 2019
The jokes made by Saboor Aly (primarily) and Saheefa indicate class privilege and further strengthening of the gap between different strata of the society. Even if it's your own time, when you're relaxed and having fun, you need to be mindful of what you say. 4/
— हसीम • Haseem • حسیم (@haseemuzzaman) May 10, 2019
Even Senator Sherry Rehman pitched in with her two cents, suggesting that the actress needs to apologise.
Disgusted to see this. In which parallel moral universe do such people live? The woman laughing is a disgrace to herself, her upbringing, values, and social class. The man cleaning her window stands exalted in contrast with his dignity in labour and self. She needs to apologise https://t.co/fjSvR0DAkN
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) May 11, 2019
And if this is a joke it’s a pretty sick one to put on social media https://t.co/xm8BJLvhYS
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) May 11, 2019
It is imperative to mention that actor Affan Waheed was in the video as well, however, he did not contribute to the foregoing behaviour.
Following the backlash, Aly took to Instagram to clarify that the man was actually their show’s Assistant Director with whom they frequently joke around.
“The said window cleaner is actually an associate director (AD) of our play with whom we have worked for months. We share a lot of jokes and funny moments. As outsiders, one wouldn’t know but at least give the other person benefit of the doubt before you start writing them off as being guilty,” she wrote.
As for the joke, the actress mentioned how they never referred to him as a window cleaner, or anything of the sort.
“Nowhere have we called him a window cleaner or made fun of any specific profession. What was an inside joke with an individual, has been portrayed as an insult of the profession which was never the intention nor a fact even in the content that’s still on my social media. Frankly, these are just not the values I have been brought up with,” she added.
On an ending note, Aly emphasized over knowing the context first, before jumping on the bandwagon to attack celebrities. “All I will humbly say in the end is – next time you point your finger on someone’s actions or words – especially when you are looking at them in isolation and not the whole picture – think and be responsible. Don’t just do it for the followers, likes, and engagement,” she said.
Similarly, Khattak also elucidated how they keep making jokes with their assistant director, as it is common to do so in a group of close friends. Moving on, she also mentioned how people are quick to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to defaming someone, as they have done so with other celebrities before.
“These are the same people who used to bash Nasir Khan Jan and Qandeel Baloch, and have now stood up in support after he got criticised on live television. However, if you look at his posts, his comments are full of derogatory remarks from [the same] people,” she said in a conversation with Behtareen.pk.
“I am really against documenting everything on social media. We admit we’re at fault where we uploaded a story where people are unaware of the context, but people make jokes of such a nature with their friends,” she added.
The actress also brought up how actor Yasir Hussain was under fire a few days ago for transphobic comments, stressing upon how his intentions behind the comment weren’t how they were portrayed by the public.
“I think we should try to take things lightly. For instance, the recent Yasir Hussain issue was blown out of proportion for no reason. He may have an abrupt way of making jokes, but he is a very down-to-earth person, and this is the way he jokes around,” she said.
“Saboor also has a comedic nature, but it does not mean she has a demeaning attitude towards others. This is a serious assertion, and needs to be stopped,” she added.
On a final note, she pointed out how quick celebrity infotainment sites and bloggers were to defame the actresses and cash in on the story, without talking to them first and knowing their side of the incident.
“I believe bloggers shouldn’t post things without knowing the context of the story, it is important to talk to the people in question and ask them about it before defaming them. Because at the end of the day, the actors and celebrities are at the receiving end of all the hate and obscene remarks,” she stated.