Samay Raina has been trending on Twitter after an abortion joke he shared—and his staunch defense of it—has divided the Twitterverse. In the joke, Raina compares his right to shitpost on Twitter to a woman’s bodily rights, saying if his girlfriend makes him delete a tweet she doesn’t like, she shouldn’t complain when he asks her to get an abortion.
The tweet was met with strong criticism from some quarters, with critics calling the joke “a comedic low”, “misogynistic” and “unfunny”. The timing of the tweet—when the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US has raised global anxieties about abortion rights—was also seen by some as insensitive.
Raina responded to his detractors by doubling down on the abortion jokes as well as attributing the criticism to “Leftist cancel culture,” which he blamed for the lack of dark, edgy comedy in India.
Some Twitter users have pointed to Raina’s response as an example of lack of accountability for casual sexism and punching down in the Indian comedy scene. Others, such as YouTuber and Kunal Kamra collaborator PeeingHuman, pointed out the irony of Raina implying he was being “cancelled” because of a few negative tweets, at a time when comedians regularly face jail time for making jokes.
Raina also took to Instagram to rant about the viral tweet, not-so-subtly plugging a YouTube release scheduled for August. “Bhai, gaya voh zamaana gaya yaar jab voh mummy-daddy ko khush karne vaale jokes marne the bas…,” Raina said in his Insta story. “Mat dekho yaar nahin dekhna hain toh. (The time has gone when I only made jokes to make mummy-daddy happy. If you don’t want to see stuff like this, then don’t visit my handle)”