Heads roll as #MeToo gathers storm

The ongoing #MeToo movement is uniquely encouraging as powerful men in the country are being brought to book for their misdeeds.

As women finally break their silence to name and shame sexual predators, the country is going through a collective catharsis right now. The last few weeks has seen several stand-up comics, film personalities, politicians and those from advertising and media have either quit or be removed from their senior positions or lose out on lucrative deals. A look back in time will show us how difficult it can be to dislodge powerful men from their proverbial thrones and the glue that keeps them put is a hazardous concoction made up of patriarchal norms, biases and a sense of entitlement that has been conferred by society for ages. The ongoing movement is uniquely encouraging because it shows us how this glue is wearing off, how even the most powerful men are being brought to book for their misdeeds. Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen, who has championed women’s causes for decades now, however, believes that the #MeToo movement is just at its inception. “It's just the beginning. We need to listen and believe. You have to understand the simple truth that when one person blames another, you may question it. But when 50 people blame the same person, there must be some truth to it. You should listen to people and give them a fair hearing; justice will prevail,” the actress says, adding, “Well done, women and men who are supporting the movement. It’s about time.” Actor Saif Ali Khan seconds her and adds, “This is a solid cause. You have to have a secure environment at work. There are all kinds of people floating around so it is important to condemn such behaviour."

Above all, this movement makes us believe that, finally, women are being heard and their fight for equality, respect and justice is being acknowledged. And so, when an influential man accused of sexual misconduct resigns or is asked to leave, it drives home the message that we, as a society, will not tolerate or condone such acts.

Swara Bhaskar believes that the movement is a big vindication to the courageous women who have stood up to claim their trauma and their stories after all these years. “It’s also a hopeful signal that we as a society (some parts at least) are moving towards a zero tolerance attitude to sexual harassment at the workplace.” Dia Mirza echoes this thought when she says, “This means that finally, actions have consequences. The #MeToo movement in India is a much needed, long awaited movement to weed out the muck in our society.”

Here are some of the powerful men who’ve been ‘weeded out’ because of their despicable actions, thanks to the #MeToo movement:

M. J. Akbar, Politician and former journalist
Actions: Priya Ramani and 20 other female journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment at their respective workplaces.
Consequence: Has resigned from his post of Union Minister

K. R. Sreenivas, Journalist
Actions: Multiple female journalists have accused Sreenivas of making unwelcome sexual overtures, including touching them inappropriately.
Consequence: Has resigned as the Times of India's Hyderabad Resident Editor

C. Gouridasan Nair, Journalist
Actions: Accused of sexual harassment by two women
Consequence: Relieved from his official responsibilities as Resident Editor of the Hindu in Kerela.

Vikas Bahl, Producer
Actions: Accused of sexual assault by a former employee of the film collective, Phantom Films
Consequence: Dropped from Kabir Khan’s 83, His Super 30 star Hrithik Roshan has said that it is "impossible" for him to work with any person "guilty of such grave misconduct", Netflix is “evaluating” screening of Sacred Games 2.

Gautam Adhikari, Journalist
Actions: Three female journalists have accused former executive editor of Times of India and former editor-in-chief of DNA, Gautam Adhikari, or forcibly kissing them and behaving inappropriately at the workplace.
Consequence: Resigned from his post as senior fellow at Centre for American Progress

Prashant Jha, Journalist
Actions: Accused of sexual misconduct by former Hindustan Times correspondent, Avantika Mehta. She posted screenshots of Jha’s Whatsapp conversations with her on Twitter.
Consequence: Stepped down as the Chief of Bureau and Political Editor of Hindustan Times

Ashish Patil, Former VP - Brand Partnerships and Talent Management & Business and Creative Head of Y-Films
Actions: An anonymous actress accused Ashish of taking her on a drive and trying to kiss her forcibly.
Consequence: Fired by YRF

Rajat Kapoor, Actor
Actions: Accused of sexual misconduct by two anonymous women and a journalist.
Consequences: The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) has dropped Kapoor’s Kadakh from the upcoming 20th edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival lineup

Gursimran Khamba and Tanmay Bhatt, Comedians
Actions: While the former is accused of harassing, forcefully kissing, and emotionally abusing a woman, the latter was accused of not acting on complaints against Utsav Chakraborty, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct.
Consequence: Asked to step down from their roles of Co-Founders of AIB

Subhash Kapoor, Director
Actions: Accused of sexual assault by journalist-turned-actress Geetika Tyagi.
Consequence: Ousted from Mogul

Sajid Khan, Director
Actions: Accused of sexual harassment by actresses Rachel White, Saloni Chopra and journalist Karishma Upadhyay.
Consequence: Stepped down as the director of Housefull 4

Chintan Ruparel
Actions: Accused of sexual misconduct and making unwelcome sexual advances by two women.
Consequence: Stepped down from his role as Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT)

Shahid Datawala, Photographer
Actions: Accused of sexual misconduct and making unwelcome sexual advances by photographer Amaaya Dasgupta.
Consequence: Mumbai gallery TARQ shut down his photo exhibition, Datura

Anirban Blah, Celebrity manager
Actions: Accused of seeking sexual favours from aspiring actors
Consequence: Celebrity management firm KWAN entertainment asked Blah to “step down” from his role as Founder.

Mukesh Chhabra, Casting agent
Action: Accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
Consequence: Fox Star Studios, the producers of his directorial debut Kizie Aur Manny, has suspended him from the film.

The #MeToo movement has been creating waves in the advertising world too. Happy mcgarrybowen CEO Kartik Iyer, Managing Director Praveen Das, Senior Creative Director of Happy Creative Services Bodhisatwa Dasgupta and National Creative Director of iProspect India Dinesh Swamy have stepped down from their respective roles, parent company Dentsu Aegis Network informed in a statement.
Actions: Accused of sexual misconduct and unwelcome sexual advances by multiple women.

Next Story