Look, we like to talk about celebrities around here at Pajiba. Joke about them, even! Rail at their hypocrisies! Poke fun at their shenanigans! But there is a certain line that you maybe don’t want to cross when discussing someone’s recent marriage, and maybe that is calling a woman of color, who happens to be a major international star and a noted philanthropist, a “global scam artist” for marrying one of the Jonas Brothers?
You won’t be able to find it anymore since The Cut has retracted the story, but that’s exactly what writer Mariah Smith published in The Cut yesterday at 4:18 p.m.: “Is Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s Love for Real?” In the piece, which got pulled from The Cut this morning, Smith questions whether the whirlwind relationship between Chopra and Jonas is “real” — and paints Priyanka as some gold-digging international vixen hellbent on Hollywood domination. It’s all pretty shady! And kind of racist and ageist!
Where is that person who wrote to Tori’s advice column speaking ill of Priyanka? Was that you, Mariah?
“Hollywood had seen nothing like her. And neither had Nick Jonas,” Smith writes, noting their age gap — “Nick was 24, and Priyanka was 34,” she says of the tweet Jonas sent to one of Chopra’s costars, praising her beauty — but she also makes Jonas seem like this lost babe in the woods seduced by Chopra, who “was rumored to be getting hot and heavy with Tom Hiddleston at an Emmys after-party.” Meanwhile, “This young man had enough interest in Priyanka to DM her and publicly proclaim his lust. So as far as Priyanka’s team must have seen it: He’d landed the role.” Or like … maybe they just fell for each other? A 10-year age gap isn’t that big of a deal? Are we really doing this?
I’m being sarcastic here because this whole piece is just written so bizarrely, with so much blame on Chopra for the couple’s antics. Yes, the two of them have had numerous photo opportunities and sponsored events in the lead-up to their multi-day wedding, which is traditional in Indian culture — Mieka wrote about this last night — but that’s not really that different from most celebrities these days. I honestly expect all celebrities to be willing to be “a little extra.” Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow was trying to launch her own magazine and feature her wedding in it, but even Condé Nast was like, “Please don’t publish your goop crap with us, we would have to fact check it, and we know you don’t like that”? Remember how often actors and actresses on the hunt for Academy Award gold show up at various corporate events to keep their names in the news? Remember how Blake Lively was changing outfits four or five times a day in the lead-up to A Simple Favor, and calling the paparazzi every time to perfect sidewalk sashay shots? Or how Justin Theroux had a whole feature story written about him in which he took his dog everywhere, to show how cool and very New York City he is? The reality is that celebrities make money off the fact that they are celebrities. That’s kind of the job!
Putting all that blame on Chopra, as this piece does, is pretty sexist, given how thirsty we ALL KNOW Jonas is for fame, too. Remember when he was messing around with Kate Hudson? (Uh, not our Kate Hudson. Goldie Hawn daughter Kate Hudson!) Have you ever seen his red-carpet outfits, as lovingly documented by Tom and Lorenzo? The man loves a too-tight leather jacket, and he sure looks happy to be there in all the photos he and Priyanka posted from their wedding celebrations.
Throughout the original version of the piece published last night, Smith called Priyanka a “global scam artist,” which like … is this a joke? Or … just the normal way people talk about award-winning international film stars who have been named one of the most influential people in the world by Time and Forbes? Does the Indian film industry, one of the largest in the world, not count for shit, or what?
also congrats to @TheCut for publishing the single most sexist and frankly xenophobic take on the priyanka/Jonas wedding?! Priyanka has had an extremely productive and successful career and she is doing nick Jonas a favor by marrying him. pic.twitter.com/bG03xnaoxC— Khushbu Shah (@KhushAndOJ) December 5, 2018
The Cut then updated the piece this morning to remove all mentions of “scam artist,” but still kept the piece tagged that way.
Then, of an hour or so ago, the piece was totally gone, replaced by an Editor’s Note saying “Upon further editorial review, we found this story did not meet our standards. We’ve removed it and apologize.”
As we all know, the Internet publishes, and the Internet remembers — you can find a cached version of the updated, but not original, piece here, and Buzzfeed has a good roundup of the receipts. Most of note are the criticism leveled at The Cut from Sophie Turner, engaged to Nick’s brother Joe and one of Chopra’s bridesmaids at the wedding, Joe himself, and Bollywood stars Swara Bhasker and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja:
This is wildly inappropriate and totally disgusting. Very disappointed that The Cut would give anyone a platform to spew such bullshit. https://t.co/iYKaifKJP6— Sophie Turner (@SophieT) December 5, 2018
Depressed with the state of the world & current affairs? Here’s some good ol’ fashioned puerile filth published by @TheCut 2 add some pointless venom 2 ur day. Also someone invite @mRiah to an Indian wedding 🙄🙄🙄 Might assuage some of her misguided angst! #yellowjournalism https://t.co/3q8cPMElrp— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) December 5, 2018
For a publication that “shows women’s what they are made of” @TheCut has a lot to answer for . The article on @priyankachopra was sexist , racist and disgusting. Also it’s written by a woman which is so sad. It reeks of envy and bitterness. @mRiah shame on you! https://t.co/bmbbX7LrAT— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) December 5, 2018
Look, I get that most of us are cynical assholes on the Internet. I truly understand that! I am part of that! And of course the family who Priyanka just married into would defend her, so we can take that with a grain of salt, I suppose. But it is very suspect when you write a whole piece calling a woman who has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and who supports her own foundation promoting children’s education and health and encourages organ donation and donates millions of dollars for cancer research as a “global scam artist” for just, what, marrying some random dude who teenage girls used to be in love with once? And masking your argument in making it seem like this evil older foreign woman led this poor young white man into her den of sexual servitude and materialistic wealth? (Checking off so many stereotypes about brown and Asian women here, by the way.)
I’m pretty sure Nick Jonas went down that road of his own free will, and I’m giving a tremendous amount of side-eye to The Cut for even publishing this weirdness in the first place. (Especially by a woman who also wrote a piece about convincing brands to sponsor her birthday party.) Didn’t y’all already wear us all out with that exhausting Lena Dunham profile? HAVEN’T WE HAD ENOUGH?
Image sources (in order of posting): The Cut, The Cut, The Cut