British-Pakistani actors Riz Ahmed and Jameela Jamil have withdrawn from the of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeeper Award ceremony which will award Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swach Bharat Abayaan or Clean India Campaign.
On Monday, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed the celebrities have pulled them off from the show. No specific reason was stated but it is speculated that the celebrities refused to attend the award ceremony due to the Kashmir issue.
Jameela Jamil also an outspoken celebrity who has frequently protested against body shaming.
Ahmed and Jamil’s decision was initially tweeted by journalist Azad Essa on Monday. Further speculations state that New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may have also pulled out of the event.
Academics, social rights activists have been trying to convince Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to repeal their decision of awarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is responsible for ongoing mass human rights violations in Indian Jammu Kashmir.
Riz Ahmed remained silent but Jameela Jamil took to Twitter and asserted she will not “be commenting on any of this” since whenever she discusses international politics she is subjected to a multitude of death and rape threats.
Riz Ahmed is quite vocal on rising Islamophobia and recently took to Twitter against the ‘everyday racism’ his brother suffered on his trip to Australia. Jameela Jamil also an outspoken celebrity who has frequently protested against body shaming.
Despite international backlashes, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have upheld its decision to award Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event will go on as per schedule on September 25-26 at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Despite international backlashes, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have upheld its decision to award Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The annual award, in five categories, awards leaders and individuals for their efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The categories are Progress, Changemaker, Campaign, Goalkeepers Voice and the Global Goalkeeper.
“These awards tell the extraordinary stories of remarkable individuals taking action to bring the Global Goals to life and help achieve them by 2030,” the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said.
Speakers at the Goalkeepers event have included Former President Barack Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Deputy UN-Secretary General Amina Sheikh and Nobel Peace Prize winners like Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad.