Richard Gere is in hot water over the public kiss he gave Indian actress Shilpa Shetty earlier this month. After Indians protested the kiss, which took place at an HIV-awareness event in New Delhi, an Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Gere. A judge who watched video of the kiss found Gere guilty of violating Indian laws against public obscenity and and said the kiss “transgressed all limits of vulgarity,” according to reports.
Gere joked about the uproar on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Thursday, even theorizing the controversy has politically roots. “There is a very small right-wing conservative party and they are the moral police in India and they do this quite often,” said Gere.
On Friday, Gere offered an apology for the incident. “What is most important to me is that my intentions as an HIV/AIDS advocate be made clear, and that my friends in India understand that it has never been, nor could it ever be, my intention to offend you,” the actor star said in statement issued by the Heroes Project, an organization the actor co-founded to combat AIDS in India .”If that has happened, of course it is easy for me to offer a sincere apology.”