VANCOUVER — Sunny Leone became a pivotal focus of the rape debate that has been reignited in India following the rape of a five-year-old girl last week in New Delhi.
While the adult film star and recently minted Bollywood star has no direct connection to the tragedy, news headlines in India have attacked Leone for her previous involvement in pornography. It was reported that the perpetrators of the gang rape watched explicit videos before committing the crime.
"She deserves to go to jail if she continues to promote pornography," Commercial lawyer Kamlesh Vaswani told Agence France-Presse.
Indian law prohibits the creation and distribution of explicit materials, and lawmakers are pushing to extend the ban.
Despite India’s ostensible aversion to sexual themes in the media — even kissing on-screen is frowned upon — the actress carved out a niche for herself in the Bollywood community by accepting roles considered too racy for most female celebrities.
Leone, an Ontario native, rejected the allegations against her last week.
"It's complete nonsense to blame rape on adult material out there,” Leone said. “Education starts at home. It's mums and dads sitting with their children and teaching them what is right and wrong."
Leone was named Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2003 and is currently working on several film projects in India.