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Ashoke Pandit Blasts TV Actress For Trivializing MeToo

Subhash K . Jha

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Last week television  actress Tinaa Datta created  a MeToo stir when  she accused her co-star Mohit  Malhotra  of  sexual harassment  on  the sets of their long-running serial  together Daayan.

  A  few days  later Dattaa has retracted  her accusation saying she has  ironed out her differences  with her co-star.

 Indian entertainment  industry’s  primary representative   and  chief advisor of the Federation Of  Western India Cine Employees,Ashoke Pandit  is  livid.  “What does she mean  by , ironed  out differences? Is this  a  shirt that  you can  iron?  These were serious  allegations  of  sexual misconduct!  How  can she just  throw them  around and  withdraw them whenever she  wants? Mazaaq samajh  rakha hai kya?(is this a joke?).”

 Pandit says  women  like Dattaa are undermining  the  importance of  the MeToo movement. “I’d say  they are   doing the Movement a  great  disservice and  should be  punished  for using  the  platform  to settle personal scores. At least , that  is  what it seems like. You’re working with  a co-star  for  years and suddenly  you have intimacy issues. His behaviour suddenly bothers you. And we as a film federation and as male members  of  the entertainment industry are  deeply concerned. But when a few days later you withdraw your grave allegations, you belittle our efforts  to bring justice to women who have been really wronged. Madame, this is  not  a joke.Neither is it a platform where  you can come  and go at your will.”

 Pandit feels  the MeToo movement  is being derailed  by women who  don’t seem to care  about following  up their  allegations.  “We at  the Federation are feeling increasingly helpless. Sajid Khan  would have been back again at work if the women who had accused  him  had not  come forward to  speak when we  summoned them. More and  more women seem  to be tweeting against  alleged  harassers  and  then  disappearing after  smearing  reputed names.”

Pandit defends  Vipul Shah who was recently accused of sexual misconduct.  “The  actress who made the allegation did not  turn up  even once when she was  called  for investigation by  the  Federation while Vipul made himself present every time we called  him.What conclusion should  we draw  from this  behaviour? Your tweet  damages  a  reputed  person’s  reputation and then  you don’t want  to  follow up your  allegations to  its natural conclusion?  We at  the Federation  who are  fretting and  fuming over the safety of women in the  film industry end  up looking foolish.”

Pandit wants  the  accusers to  take the Movement more seriously.  “Either have  the  courage  to go all the way(with the  allegations)  or don’t come forward at  all.This kind of  irresponsible  behaviour is  making men  in the industry  wary of  working with women.”

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