Actress Lara Dutta Bhupathi has refused to work through the casting company owned by Mukesh Chhabra. As everyone recently discovered, Chhabra is one of the many who have been accused of sexual harassment with the help of the #MeToo movement. Lara’s husband, tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi revealed an open letter which he posted on Twitter on Friday, telling people to “stop engaging” with sexual offenders, raising concern on why people in power in the film industry have chosen to remain silent about such matters. He said, "Two days ago my wife, who's shooting out of town, got an offer from a leading international digital platform through Mukesh Chabbra's company. She forwarded it to me for my feedback. I asked if she really wanted to empower his company even after what's been in the news.
"Her reaction was that the digital platform hadn't really pulled back business from him either. Later, Lara got in touch with the digital platform and told them she wouldn't accept work through this company specifically. I think she did the right thing. I'm not sure it's enough, though."
Many people have spoken out about the problem of influencers staying silent about the outbreak of victims of harassment. The father of a six-year-old daughter pointed out, "While these Me Too revelations are upsetting my wife as much as they are me, maybe even more since she has seen a lot of this at close quarters and some of her friends are involved at both ends, the fact remains that the cream of the industry has refused to support the movement. Sajid Khan is not directing Housefull 4 anymore, but is that enough?” he added about the shamed director, Sajid Khan, who has recently been ousted as a sexual predator.
"A peek at Suhel Seth's lnstagram account will reveal photos of him with every famous and powerful person in the country, yet not one has felt the need to say anything about his behaviour. People in the know tell me the reason for this is, 'Everyone has skeletons in their closet' I don't buy that.
"Women who have been in toxic work spaces,and yet are staying quiet need to understand how hard it is for these stories to be shared. Similarly, the men must understand that even if you played your part by being a silent spectator to injustice, now is your chance to set things right."
Mahesh revealed that he himself heard stories but chose to ignore them as business is always business, but not any longer.
"Personally or professionally, I have known and engaged with Suhel Seth, Vikas Bahl, Anirban Blah, Chetan Bhagat, Sajid Khan and Anu Malik. That ends today on all accounts."
He added, "Show them that while the law and investigative agencies will take their course, society should - and will - reject them. The stance needs to be crystal clear -- guilty unless proven innocent."
Picture Courtesy – IANS