Employers beware. The city’s media fraternity is taking its professional bond to the next level. Earlier this year, Sapna Bhavnani, hair stylist and proprietor of hair salon Mad-o-Wot, started Blacklist, a Facebook group meant for people who have been duped or not paid for their work by media organisations and production houses. But in two weeks, the group will gain stronger ground and be launched as an independent website by the same name.
Bhavnani says her own experience inspired her to start the Facebook group. “Many people like me were tired of not getting paid for work they had done,” she says. “Media employees don’t really have a union of any sort. So I wanted people to have a platform where they can mention these names and at least spread the word.”
Until now, anyone who became a member of the Facebook group could list the companies they wanted to blacklist with a brief description of their grudge on the wall. But now, with the website,
, Bhavnani plans to add some method to the madness.
Method to madness
“At times people can just say anything when they are angry, so I set up a system to verify the complaints,” she says. “There is always the risk of companies hanging up on us if we call them to check, but at least we tried. And once the name is verified, it will be published on the site.”
Wickiewoola Creative, a freelance company, offered to create the website after registering their own complaint with the Facebook group. “A website making company got cheated by a client, and they logged on to the Facebook group. Then they offered to design our blacklist website for free,” says Bhavnani, adding that the task of spearheading this project is not easy.
The stylist received threats from Bollywood producers asking her to shut down the website soon after she blacklisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions. She says, “I was shocked when they said that they would ‘ruin my career’. But then this is what I want — I want people to be afraid of having their name on the site. And it’s also good to see that people participating are not only from Bollywood, but also from art galleries and other media houses.”