Update Dec. 8: Four days after the article was initially published, writer Mariah Smith tweeted an apology. “I want to sincerely apologize to Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas, and to the readers I offended and hurt with my words. I do not condone racism, xenophobia, or sexism. I take full responsibility for what I wrote, and I was wrong. I am truly sorry.”
When I first heard that Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas were “a thing,” I didn’t believe it. Truly, I thought the two stars had teamed up for a few carefully orchestrated public appearances to add some fuel to the publicity mill, and up their celeb status. It was all very Jennifer Lopez and Drake.
My feelings about this duo have been like that nervous laughter when a joke goes on too long and you start to realize that this thing that seemed fleeting is actually never going to end. After showing up to the Met Gala together in 2017, and being spotted at various sporting events, Priyanka and Nick confirmed their romance by getting engaged in July. And my reaction was basically that kid who desperately asked, “Is this real life?”
Even after the videos and wedding photos from their A1 nuptials in India, I remained conflicted. Was I just being prejudiced because of their 10-year age gap? (I mean, props to both of them for giving a collective middle finger to old-school courtship standards.) Was it because a Jonas brother and a Bollywood star seemed like an unlikely pair? Was it because I could not fathom what they would have in common? I mean, considering they’re both international celebrities, maybe they do have similarities that aren’t part of their public personas. And if not, well, hey, opposites attract, right?
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But one thing I am damn sure of: The article that The Cut published trashing Priyanka over this relationship—which was revised multiple times before being taken down in the same day—was all kinds of wrong.
Here’s the tea: The Cut ran a feature with the headline “Is Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s Love for Real?” by writer Mariah Smith. Obviously, I clicked—and I was not the only one: The article quickly went viral, but for all the wrong reasons. This story attempted to outline “Priyanka’s plan to make this Nick Jonas opportunity her forever bitch,” but instead, read like an unedited blog detailing the history of their relationship, peppered with sexist and racist conclusions based entirely on speculation.
The article has now been replaced with a single line: “Upon further editorial review, we found this story did not meet our standards. We’ve removed it and apologize.” However, the internet never forgets.
The unedited, original version of the story called Priyanka a “modern-day scam artist” who had conned Nick Jonas into marrying her, citing supposed “red flags” like wedding-related sponcon (though both the bride and groom participated equally in that) and their super-extra wedding. I totally get that getting married in a palace is extravagant, but—AND THIS IS IMPORTANT—having week-long, multiple-ceremony weddings that involve dance performances at the sangeet, numerous outfit changes and hundreds of guests is not unusual for Indian weddings. Yes, her veil was 75-feet long, but that is not a metaphor for how she trapped Nick Jonas into marriage.
The offensive assertions continued right until the end, where Smith wrote: “All Nick wanted was a possible fling with Hollywood’s latest It Woman, but instead he wound up staring straight at a life sentence with a global scam artist. Even more upsetting, she’s a scam artist who never even took the time to make sure he was comfortable riding a horse before arranging for him to enter their wedding ceremony on horseback…Nick, if you’re reading this, find that horse and gallop away as fast as you can!” For the record, having the groom ride a horse is also a traditional part of Hindu ceremonies and by exoticizing that, and making it seem like Nick Jonas was forced to do something against his will, is racist.
Uhhh all Indian weddings have several ceremonies over a number of days. Thanks.
— happy honda days (@SorryMomDotGov) December 4, 2018
Later versions of the article removed offensive references painting Priyanka as some kind of successful immigrant who married a Jonas brother to bolster her profile in the U.S. so that she could continue to enjoy indulgences like titanium headphones, in-home theatres and yachts. “Priyanka’s indulgences and what she views as necessities speak volumes to her personality and what she’ll do, or think she needs to do, for her career,” wrote Smith. So basically, she is trying to say that Priyanka is a fame-hungry social climber, marrying Nick in order to further her career? OK, nope. That thesis is a) offensive and b) completely inaccurate since Priyanka is already an internationally famous star and does not need to marry a Jonas brother to solidify that as fact.
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
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
A similar editorial disaster recently happened when Into published an op-ed by Eli Erlick accusing Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video of perpetuating trans misogyny and featuring the singer in blackface. After swift backlash, the publication removed the writer’s byline and added a lengthy note from the editor-in-chief to the top of the article stating that “We as editors failed the writer by not working with her to ensure the piece met our standards.”
Articles like the Priyanka Chopra/Nick Jonas Cut piece and the INTO Ariana thinkpiece are what happens when digital media companies don’t think they need proper editors looking over their content mills.
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) December 5, 2018
The same can be said here. Yes, Smith’s piece is all kinds of problematic, but she did not operate alone. Her editors are equally responsible for this piece of trash seeing the light of day. The reality is that this was one op-ed that should never have made the cut.