Kiss This: Gere Shrugs Off Controversy, Arrest Warrant

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From the way Indian authorities are treating him, you'd think Richard Gere ran somebody off the road, Brandy-style, or starred in a dirty, amateur sex tape like Brandy's bro, Ray J.

But Richard Gere is defending himself after an absurd warrant was issued for his arrest for giving an Indian actress a kiss that a local judge deemed "indecent."

"Kissing the girl on the cheek was nothing," Richard Gere, 57, said on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Thursday.

"It was an AIDS event for truck drivers. It was the largest truck depot in South Asia. They were climbing on their trucks [cheering]."

During the public HIV-awareness event in New Delhi earlier this month, Gere took actress Shilpa Shetty, 31, in his arms, kissed her several times on the cheek and dipped her in a tango-style dance move.

Indians in several cities protested and burned effigies of Gere, saying the kiss was an "indecent" act and "against Indian culture," and on Thursday, Judge Dinesh Gupta issued a warrant for his arrest in the city of Jaipur, acting on a petition by a local lawyer.

Gere, who was on the Comedy Central show to promote his latest film, The Hoax, added that Shilpa Shetty herself wasn't offended by the kiss:

"We went and had dinner afterwards and nobody said a word about this."

Wonder if they talked about the weather, the food at the restaurant, or the love life of Shetty's fellow Bollywood star, Aishwarya Rai.

The actor, a frequent visitor to India, where he's met with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama through his foundation. On Thursday, he hinted that the kiss controversy is politically motivated.

"There is a very small right-wing conservative party and they are the moral police in India and they do this quite often," said Gere, who has long fought for AIDS awareness in the world's second most populous country.

Still, the actor appeared unfazed by the arrest warrant.

"I don't know if anyone has gone to jail, but [a case like this generally] goes to a reputable court and is thrown out," Richard Gere said.

Still no comment on the whole gerbil thing.

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