Spider-Man star Tom Holland was grappling with an angry Twitter storm in India on Friday in a case of mistaken cyber identity.
A historian with the Twitter handle @holland_tom tweeted a post mocking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday after a huge cricket stadium was renamed after him.
“I’m a huge admirer of the modesty Modi showed in naming the world’s largest cricket stadium after himself,” he wrote sarcastically. “Not always a good sign for countries when leaders start pulling that trick...” he concluded.
I’m a huge admirer of the modesty Modi showed in naming the world’s largest cricket stadium after himself.— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) February 24, 2021
The post prompted an angry backlash in India, where people mistook the Twitter account with that of another Tom Holland — the 24-year-old British star of the “Spider-Man” series of Marvel movies — whose handle is @TomHolland1996.
Soon the hashtag #BoycottSpiderMan started trending in the country of 1.3 billion people.
“This is India's internal matter. We will teach you a lesson of lifetime. #boycottspiderman,” said one user in response to the historian's tweet. “You conspirator, conspiring against global leader (Modi). You just wait, Delhi police is coming for you,” said another. The actor has been active on Twitter this week, teasing fans with possible titles for the newest film in the series.
The #BoycottSpiderMan hashtag then gained further traction as Twitter users mocked others for their misdirected vitriol.
Historian Holland later apologised, tweeting: “Oh dear — I seem single-handedly to have destroyed prospects for the next Spider-Man in India.” “I should have remembered that with great power comes great responsibility,” he said, echoing a famous Spider-Man quote.
Oh dear - I seem single-handedly to have destroyed prospects for the next Spider-Man in India. https://t.co/VKrO2O8PeO— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) February 25, 2021
He then apologised to the actor saying, "I had not realised that #BoycottSpiderman actually trended in India on the day that @TomHolland1996 was promoting his new film! My apologies to him as well. (Though it is quite funny...) "
I had not realised that #BoycottSpiderman actually trended in India on the day that @TomHolland1996 was promoting his new film! My apologies to him as well. (Though it is quite funny...) https://t.co/RlBZJpntss— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) February 26, 2021
Tongue-in-cheek, he added: “Just for the record, & to save Marvel's profits in India, I freely acknowledge that Narendra Modi is a man of immense humility, and that his naming the world's largest cricket stadium after himself is in no way quite hilariously immodest.” The stadium in Ahmedabad in Gujarat state was renamed on Wednesday from Motera to Narendra Modi.
The outrage against an international personality for speaking up on an Indian issue comes just weeks after international icons like Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, and Mia Khalifa faced backlash and trolling for supporting India’s farmer’s protests, and were also accused of being part of a “conspiracy” and “interfering in internal matters”.
And if that’s not absurd, even Twitter users with names similar to Rihanna were trolled, leaving them confused as to why so many Indians were angry at them.
Nevertheless, the 110,000-seat venue was the pet project of Modi who was the state's chief minister before becoming India's prime minister in 2014.
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