Comedians slam Pune café owner Khodu Irani over sexual harassment allegations
Lifestyle blogger, Sheena Dabolkar’s tweet — accusing Koregaon pub owner of sexual harassment and bullying — has gone viral; making comedians boycott the popular party zone.india Updated: Oct 16, 2017 11:09 IST
Pune’s High Spirits Café, one of the most popular hangout zones, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. It all started on Thursday when lifestyle blogger Sheena Dabolkar called out the owner of the café, Khodu Irani, in a series of tweets. The blogger accused him of sexually harassing her.
Sheena alleged that over the years Irani has behaved inappropriately with her and various other women, and also made sexist comments. As she continued to tweet, multiple women joined in with their stories of being harassed by Irani - just like the Harvey Weinstein case in Hollywood, which has been in news since last week.
High Spirits has used the veil of family and home to normalise its abuse. A reminder that many many families are fucked up. pic.twitter.com/dY78I53tYf— Sheena (@weeny) October 14, 2017
Whatchu hiding High Spirits pic.twitter.com/ymTU2YYA0d— Sheena (@weeny) October 14, 2017
People who sent me screengrabs to cheer me up I love u. You can also tweet me pics of ur pets (no humans). pic.twitter.com/j4ZhSveELl— Sheena (@weeny) October 14, 2017
However, the tweet thread reached it’s peak when popular stand-up comedian Tanmay Bhat wrote that he was once groped at High Spirits because of his weight.
Since then comedians across the country have announced that they won’t perform at this spot anymore.
I was once on stage at High Spirits when Khodu jumped onto stage and groped me, you know, coz I'm overweight.— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) 14 October 2017
Here’s what city-based comedians have to say on the issue:
“Sexual harassment of any kind, against anyone is just not acceptable. This man clearly has an issue but hanging him out to dry doesn’t help. This guy needs therapy and his groping is a desperate measure; his self worth is low. I’ve performed at High Spirits myself, I guess he didn’t find me attractive and that’s why he didn’t grope me. The fact that everyone is speaking out collectively shows that we will not stand for this”. —Vasu Primlani
“If somebody’s physical person is violated without their consent, it is wrong regardless of the gender of the person being violated.The government probably also needs to look at what laws exist to protect men[referring to Tanmay Bhat’s tweet] from such harassment. More often than not men are afraid to speak up for fear of public ridicule. However the law needs to protect victims of such abuse regardless of gender and we need to start sensitising our children at an early age that such behaviour is not ok - not with a man or with a woman.” —Papa CJ
“We need to take a stand against this. I hope more comedians [like Tanmay] speak up. Also, it’s funny how we attack Bollywood when they remain silent, but stay silent when something like this happens in our own industry [in the world of comics]. We can’t stay silent on such issues. Only together, we can make a change.”
— Rajneesh Kapoor
“No comedian will perform there now! For too long, a man making sexual advances has been dismissed with an indulgent smile and an attitude that — men will be men. It’s about time that we shame them, and name them. As comedienne (female comedian), we face unwanted advances because the mentality is that if she is open on stage then she’s an easy game off it.” — Neeti Palta
HT tried to get in touch with the management at High Spirit’s Cafe, but no one was available for a comment.
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First Published: Oct 14, 2017 22:04 IST