Papon sexual assault row: The singer’s decision to use the child to defend himself is nauseating
In the last few months, celebrities have been falling like ninepins, singer Papon being the latest one. Last week, a video showed him grabbing and kissing a minor girl participant, his mentee, on a reality show that he was judging (he has resigned since then). The Assam Police registered a case after Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan filed a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The rights body has also issued a notice to both singer Papon and the TV channel.
Papon has said his conduct was a “spontaneous” act, but the argument has not cut much ice with many. I think Papon has done further damage to the case and his reputation by allowing his team to use the child to defend him. In a video, the 11-year-old defends her mentor, saying that Papon had no wrong intention and that even her parents kiss her the way he did.
Obviously, the poor child is not aware that there is a world of difference between what parents can do and what others can, or the concept of good touch-bad touch. It was equally disheartening to see that not just this girl but also another contestant and some older people (possibly from her family) corroborated her stand.
In fact, much of what she said on camera was prompted by those around her.
The young girl was possibly tutored by her family, which is trying to contain the damage that a case such as this may cause to the girl’s reputation, considering nothing dies on social media.
But what happens, if a few years later, she realises that the incident was not innocent affection. It’s a pity that the parents think that reputation is more important than their child’s long-term welfare.
The case also brings into focus one more aspect of reality shows: The dangers of exposing children to an highly competitive environment controlled by adults.