Social media fanaticism has long been a problem, to the point that we’ve heard many people wonder aloud what will happen when somebody takes it too far. And the violation of Indian cricket legend Virat Kohli’s privacy this weekend feels like the next dangerous step towards a belief system that you can do pretty much anything to anyone in the public eye.
Kohli’s hotel room was videoed by a cleaning contractor at the Crown Perth hotel where the India team were staying for Sunday’s Men’s T20 World Cup Group 2 clash with South Africa. After scanning a side table with glasses, a cap and religious statues placed on a towel, the video showed a row of trainers on the floor alongside an opened case filled with India training wear before moving on to linger on a range of supplements and then heading for the ace batter’s bathroom and closet.
- England’s T20 World Cup Match Vs Australia Abandoned
- Betfred's Latest T20 World Cup Odds*
Having seen the offensive video on social media, the 33-year-old used his Instagram account to reproduce the footage and call out the despicable intrusion.
“I understand that fans get very happy and excited seeing their favourite players and get excited to meet them and I’ve always appreciated that,” Kohli wrote in the accompanying caption. “But this video here is appalling and it’s made me feel very paranoid about my privacy.
“If I cannot have privacy in my own hotel room, then where can I really expect any personal space at all?? I’m NOT okay with this kind of fanaticism and absolute invasion of privacy. Please respect people’s privacy and not treat them as a commodity for entertainment.”
The Crown Perth released a statement apologising for the behaviour and revealed that the cleaner involved had been fired, but whoever was filming was only one of three people who were shown to be in the room at the time. That’s three people who thought it was a good idea to film somebody’s private hotel room.
This will never be ok. How far are we going to allow people to go in their attempts to look clever online before we decide that none of this is worth it? The more bolshy people get, the more people’s privacy is compromised. And the more fanatical they become, the more we risk something tragic happening before measures are put in place.
This cleaner knew that Kohli was not in his room, and that the most they could do was get a look at a few of the India star’s personal belongings. But what about the next cleaner? The one who is brave enough to attempt to film a sports star while they sleep, or who has far more life-altering ideas?
Kohli will now be looking over his shoulder for the remainder of the T20 tournament, perhaps even for the rest of his career when staying away from home. His talk of paranoia is not to be taken lightly. Nor is the message it sends to others.
In a time of great global turmoil, sports have increasingly become an opportunity to take our minds away from the daily grind. And those whose brilliance is our reason to be cheerful must be treasured for what they provide rather than hounded in some misguided sense that they are public property.
*18+ | BeGambleAware