Tanushree Dutta unwittingly started India’s very own #MeToo movement when she called out veteran actor Nana Patekar and director Vivek Agnihotri for behaving inappropriately with her. Since then, over the last one week, the #MeToo movement in India has quickly gained momentum with conversations about sexual predators, the male gaze, and the deep rooted misogyny all over the country.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of the alleged predators are people in power, belonging to the crème de la crème of the society. The list includes, but is not limited to well-known actors, authors, comedians, sportsmen, journalists and business officials. Ironically, quite a few names on the list are well-known for being ‘vocal feminists’ and ‘super-woke-bois’ on the Internet.
The dominoes have started to fall.
- AIB – Following many allegations of sexual misconduct against an ex-employee, AIB released a statement stating that while co-founder Tanmay Bhat was aware of the goings-on, no action was taken. A few days later, allegations of harassment surfaced against Tanmay and co-founder Gursimran Khamba. Following this, the company released another statement confirming that Tanmay has stepped down as CEO, and Gursimran Khamba has been put on a “temporary leave of absence.” Furthermore, digital entertainment platform Hotstar released a short statement cancelling On Air with AIB with immediate effect.
- Vikas Bahl – A female crew member who used to work for Phantom Films alleged that she was sexually assaulted by producer and director Vikas Bahl in 2015. She added that she eventually quit her job because the company refused to take action against the filmmaker. After this incident was brought to light, several Bollywood actors including Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Kapoor and Imran Khan, released statements of support, adding that his predatory behaviour was known to the industry. Immediately after, Phantom Films was dissolved, and co-founder and director Anurag Kashyap released a two-page statement. He also said that he had stepped down from Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). Vikas Bahl is also no longer involved with the upcoming biopic Super 30.
- Prashant Jha – In the media world, following allegations of sexual harassment, Prashant Jha stepped down as the political editor and bureau chief of the Hindustan Times (HT). According to media reports, Jha had been accused by a former HT correspondent. He remains part of the media group but is currently facing an internal inquiry into the allegations.
- Subhash Kapoor – The film director was accused of molesting an actor in 2014, following which, according to media reports, the police filed an FIR against him. Kapoor was slated to direct the Gulshan Kumar biopic, Mogul, but was fired from the project. Lead actor Aamir Khan too walked out of the project. Soon after, according to a media report, producer Ekta Kapoor fired the director from her upcoming web series The Verdict.
- Sajid Khan – The director was accused by a former Assistant Director, Saloni Chopra, of sexual harassment in a blog post on Medium. Following this, lead actor Akshay Kumar walked out of the ongoing production of Housefull 4. Sajid Khan’s sister Farah Khan and cousin Farhan Akhtar said on Twitter how shocked and saddened they were to hear of the allegations.
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