Union minister and former journalist MJ Akbar who has been accused of sexual harassment and abuse by over a dozen women journalists resigned from his post on Wednesday. His resignation comes two days after he filed a defamation suit against Priya Ramani, one of the complainants, who has accused him of sexual harassment while working under him at the Asian Age.
In an official statement, Akbar said that he was resigning since he had decided to seek justice in a court of law in a personal capacity.
Here’s the full statement:
— ANI (@ANI) October 17, 2018
A total of 20 women journalists who had worked under Akbar at the Asian Age newspaper, have moved the court with their testimonies against Akbar.
In a petition, the journalists condemned the former editor’s behaviour and “the culture of casual misogyny, entitlement and sexual predation that Akbar engendered and presided over at The Asian Age”, Times of India reported.
“Ramani is not alone in her fight. We would request the honourable court hearing the defamation case to also consider the testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of the petitioner, as also of the other signatories who bore witness to this harassment,” the journalists said in the joint statement undersigned by them.
“What Akbar has demonstrated through his legal actions is his refusal to introspect, acknowledge or atone for his actions that have caused immense pain and indeed harm to many women over the years. He himself, in the meanwhile, continues to enjoy enormous power and privilege as minister and Member of Parliament,” the statement said.
When Ramani spoke out against him in public, she spoke not only about her personal experience, but also lifted the lid on the culture of ‘casual misogyny, entitlement and sexual predation’ that Akbar engendered and presided over at The Asian Age, it said.
On October 8, Ramani shared a post on Twitter in which she accused Akbar of harassing her while she was working at the Asian Age. Her post triggered reactions and many women journalists came out with similar accusations. Akbar, on the other hand, rubbished all the accusations and filed a criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani.
His resignation sparked many reactions on Twitter:
As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation.
I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo
— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 17, 2018
I guess it was the bathrobe and the underwear #AkbarResigns
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) October 17, 2018
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 17, 2018
Finally MJ Akbar has resigned. Shame on him for having delayed it for so long. The credit for the resignation goes not to the Centre or MJ Akbar but directly to the #MeToo campaign. Esp to those brave women who reported the assault & those women and men who stood by them.
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) October 17, 2018
To all the women who stood testimony to the gross violations of human rights by MJ Akbar, to all the women Ministers who stood their ground and demanded his resignation, in the face of opposition from their Cabinet colleagues, I salute you.
— indira jaising (@IJaising) October 17, 2018
So now, finally MJ Akbar had to resign thanks to the sheer numbers of women coming up to out him as a predator! Bravo women. You finally made it too costly for Modi to keep Akbar on as Minister. https://t.co/kJgwELe8zi
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) October 17, 2018