MeToo accused Sajid Khan’s one-year ban punishment leads to uproar | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

MeToo accused Sajid Khan’s one-year ban punishment leads to uproar

BySugandha Rawal
Oct 13, 2022 03:10 PM IST

After FWICE writes to union minister Anurag Thakur saying that Sajid Khan should be allowed to work as he served his punishment, we talk to industry insiders on what is the process of deciding the punishment, is one-year ban enough

Amid the growing clamour around Sajid Khan returning to the spotlight with a reality show, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) revealed that the MeToo accused is allowed to work as he has served his punishment. And it has led to uproar, with people calling out the attempts to whitewash his image and questioning who decides the course of punishment.

Sajid Khan is currently seen in a reality show (Yogen Shah)
Sajid Khan is currently seen in a reality show (Yogen Shah)

Recently, FWICE wrote to Anurag Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, sharing that Sajid was banned for a year following the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled in 2018. The ban was lifted in March 2019, according to the letter, which came in response to the chief of Delhi Commission of Women Swati Maliwal’s letter with an appeal for his ouster from the Salman Khan-hosted reality show.

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“Ek aadmi ko hum ek case ke liye ek baar hi saja de sakte hain. Not again. He has served his punishment. Now, if someone has any issue and feels more should be done, they should take the legal route,” BN Tiwari, FWICE President, says while clarifying the intention of the letter.

He adds, “One year is a long time for a director to now work and sit at home. Isse zyada hum nahi kar sakte. We formed a committee with activists and lawyers, who decided the time frame. We can’t impose a life ban”.

However, it is the lack of transparency which has irked people. When it comes to Hollywood, men who came under scanner for exploiting their position of power, were not only called out, but faced consequences for their actions, with the downfall of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey being the case in point.

“There’s no point comparing it with the West. They have accountability.. .and some semblance of due process. As a society, we don’t care about women’s safety at the workplace. We have no conception of why sexual harassment is unacceptable unless it’s a big physical transgression. We jump to blame the victim first. This is our mentality everywhere in society. Bollywood is no different,” Swara Bhasker tells us.

Here, actor Tanushree Dutta, who became the face of the MeToo movement in India, slams the attempts to “rehabilitate Sajid Khan”.

“Another ‘blib’ in Bollywood’s downward spiral and “shoot your own foot” syndrome for the Bollywoodias. Vikas Bahl’s film came and tanked. So rehabilitation or not, if someone wants to burn their hard earned crores on these predators and predator supporters I have no issues,” she says with disappointment.

For writer Vinta Nanda, who accused Alok Nath of sexual harassment, calls the current reality of the small screen a reflection of patriarchal mindset.

“This is patriarchy, which we are seeing unfold in front of your eyes. It’s so horrifying to see that the battery of channel executives, which include women, are making such decisions. They are pandering to patriarchy. The basic shift in perceptions and behaviours hasn’t taken place after MeToo happened,” Nanda says.

Actor Kamya Panjabi is also placing her bet on a more transparent way of dealing with such issues, instead of playing the blame game. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

An actor, on condition to stay anonymous, confesses that she took a legal route against the person who abused her, and the chargesheet for the case is yet to be filed, even after four years of her complaint.

“When an actress speaks up, she gets the image of being problematic, which impacts her work. In fact, people only blame the actress because we are not very popular. But that is the way predators hunt, they go for the weaker one or someone who is new in the industry. They have more money, power and connections. Even after so many years, my case hasn’t started, and chargesheet has not been filed because the accused never turned up in the court. The legal system is really slow, we need to do something about it,” adds the insider.

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