Bollywood, Here's How NOT To Respond To Sexual Harassment Allegations

This is exactly what you shouldn't say when asked about Tanushree Dutta's sexual harassment allegations against Nana Patekar.

When Tanushree Dutta spoke out against Nana Patekar, it wasn’t a total surprise that the film fraternity chose to observe silence for the first couple of days. At the first sign of controversy, the Hindi film fraternity chooses to steer clear of it lest it affect their ability to score major endorsement deals. Amitabh Bachchan is more than happy to participate in a letter-writing exercise talking of women empowerment before the release of his film, Pink. But apparently being asked to comment about sexual harassment allegations in real life is a bit too much to expect of a public figure.

This is what is even more infuriating than the silence. That someone like an Amitabh Bachchan would actually go out of his way to choose an indifferent tone while addressing a sensitive topic like alleged sexual harassment in Bollywood. As it is, the victims are discouraged from speaking up, and on top of that if popular superstars like Amitabh Bachchan who command a considerable fandom do not champion their right to be heard, then why would anyone speak up?

Unsurprisingly, Salman Khan chose whataboutery, when he face-palmed after hearing a question surrounding Tanushree Dutta’s allegations. Firstly, he denied any knowledge of the events and said he didn’t wish to speak on it. It wasn’t problematic up till now, but then Salman chose to voice a parting quip towards the journalist who posed the question by saying – “it’s a sporting event, please be sporting”, he sternly told her. Wow.

But it is Shakti Kapoor, accused of a casting couch incident a few years ago, who gave the most terrible response that echoes of ‘locker room talk’. “This happened 10 years ago? I don’t know enough, sir. Ten years back I was a small kid,” – after which the reporters burst out laughing (!!). Would you casually laugh it off like this if Shraddha Kapoor made similar allegations against an actor, from within the industry? Where is your empathy?

And ICYMI: A few years before Shakti Kapoor claimed to be ‘a kid’ – he was judging a reality talent show called Item Bomb, along with the cast of Sanjay Gupta’s Musafir.

CINTAA – the association of working actors in TV and cinema, apologised to Tanushree Dutta and lent their support to the actor, but refused to reopen the case after 10 years. ““CINTAA strongly condemns any act that outrages the modesty of any individual and any form of sexual harassment is unacceptable to us. Sexual harassment is a serious criminal offense, unfortunately, CINTAA’s Constitution bars us from taking up any case which is more than three years old,” they were quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, as if things weren’t already disturbing enough, Raj Thackeray’s MNS, who was accused of lending support to Nana Patekar and mobbing Tanushree’s car, has ‘barred’ Tanushree from entering the Bigg Boss house. #FacepalmAlert

After many harassment apologists claimed that Dutta was reopening the can of worms just so that she could score a Bigg Boss-gig, MNS workers handed a letter to the makers of the show threatening violence, if they ever tried to recruit Dutta as a contestant.

Bollywood’s #MeToo era cannot begin unless the powerful entities embrace the changing times, and come out and diss unprofessional behaviour at the workplace. It’s about time.