Dia Mirza: Hollywood is setting a great example by punishing sexual predators | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Dia Mirza: Hollywood is setting a great example by punishing sexual predators

Bollywood actor Dia Mirza, active crusader for environment conservation and women’s empowerment, says that the cancelled contracts of abusive men show a ‘fantastic precedent’.

bollywood Updated: Dec 03, 2017 17:02 IST
Rishabh Suri
Bollywood actor Dia Mirza is the new UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India.
Bollywood actor Dia Mirza is the new UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India.(Photo: Pramod Thakur/HT)

Bollywood actor Dia Mirza has always been a celebrity who speaks her heart out on major issues. In her characteristic straightforward manner, Dia says that the on-going backlash against sexual predators is a “fantastic precedent”. The scandal over sexual harassment / molestation / rape that erupted in Hollywood, following a New York Times report, has felled huge names such as producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey. Bollywood has not been untouched by the furore, with actors Priyanka Chopra, Kalki Koechlin, Vidya Balan, and Ekta Kapoor speaking up on the phenomenon.

Dia, a Bollywood insider for over two decades now, says that women speaking up against men who dared to violate them is “a very important and healthy thing”. She adds, “For too long, women have kept quiet about the way they have been treated. If we truly believe in women’s empowerment, we should provide them with the [opportunity] to express their individuality and seek financial independence. It’s equally incumbent upon us as a society to create an environment that allows women to genuinely foster their growth without intimidation and sexual predation.”

Asked if she herself came across such predators in Bollywood, the 35-year old actor says, “It’s not just about the film industry — it’s important to acknowledge that while people in the entertainment industry may be called out for such disgusting things, this exists in all spheres of society, [in] education and corporate [world], too.”

The measures taken against some of the most powerful men in Hollywood — Weinstein has lost his own company and Spacey his biggest projects — is a great outcome, believes Dia. “Hollywood is exemplifying the fact that there should be consequences for such actions. There, contracts are being terminated, people have stopped working with such people, which is a fantastic precedent!” she asserts.

‘Hollywood is exemplifying the fact that there should be consequences for such actions. There, contracts are being terminated, people have stopped working with such people, which is a fantastic precedent!’ — Dia Mirza, actor

However, she adds that sexual harassment is not limited to women; men get harassed, too. “It works both ways. I don’t believe this is a narrative reduced to one gender. It’s equally important for all genders,” says the actor.

Apart from women’s empowerment, Dia has also been an environmental crusader. The actor, who is now shooting for the Sanjay Dutt biopic, has been appointed as the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India. Excited, she says, “I feel gratified that I’ve got this opportunity . It will give me more opportunities to meet incredible minds working on sustainable innovations. I’ve been working for environmental conservation for almost 11 years now, and tried to use every platform of communication to spread awareness. I’ve been committed to the goals of the United Nations, and I think that qualifies me for the job.”

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