#MeToo: Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan Among New Names Outed
Ever since the #MeToo movement began, there appears to be no end to the skeletons tumbling out of the closet. In the latest, an anonymous woman has accused filmmaker Subhash Ghai of sexual assault. She says he drugged and raped her at the beginning of her career.
A writer has shared screenshots of her private conversation with the anonymous woman on Twitter, mentioning that the alleged survivor was a ‘credible media/lit personality’. The woman wrote that the incident occurred during the time she was new to the industry and working with the filmmaker on a film.
The woman shared that Ghai promised to be a mentor to her. She believed him since she was new to Mumbai and had no godfather in the industry. The woman, who only wanted to learn, did not imagine she would experience a horrific nightmare soon after.
“In the beginning, he would take me to music recordings and I would have to sit there till very late at night with other male members. When recordings finished, I took an auto home or he would drop me. He slowly started putting his hand on my thigh, giving me a big hug saying that I did good that day,” she wrote.
She also mentioned how he would call her for script sessions at his apartment in Lokhandwala. She revealed that the apartment was not the one where he stayed with his wife. He called it his thinking pad. She wrote, “In one of the script sessions, he started talking about how misunderstood he was in the industry and only I was the one who loved him. He pretended to weep and put his head on lap. Then when he was getting up, he kissed me forcefully.” The incident shocked her and she left immediately.
The next day, Ghai referred to the apartment incident as that of lovers saying, “lovers have tiffs”. The woman wrote how she was scared to leave work since she did not have any other job and financial security.
She continues writing how one evening, after a music session, Ghai decided to have a drink. “He gave me a drink as well. It was spiked. After that, I remember getting into a car and I thought that he was driving me home. He took me to a hotel. I was wobbly, but he held me and took me to the suite. He took off my jeans and mounted me. I was trying to scream, but he put his hand over my mouth. I cried and passed out,” she wrote. The next morning, she remembers, she woke up to find him having breakfast in the room.
He dropped her home the next day. “I took a few days off and I was told that I won’t be paid, if I quit now.” The woman says she has never seen or spoken to him ever since.
Reportedly, Ghai denied the woman’s allegations saying.
Actor Saloni Chopra has accused actor-filmmaker Sajid Khan of sexual harassment. Saloni, in detailed post on Medium, has described her horrific experiences. The incident, she wrote, happened in 2011 when she was interviewed by Khan for the position of an assistant director.
“He was famous for his interview questions. He asks questions like ‘do you masturbate?’ and ‘how many times a week?’… he also asked me if I’d ever been sexually abused, I said yes. Then he asked weird questions like if I would ever get a breast job, and talked about how sex is really a mental connection,” she shared.
Chopra described how he started calling her at odd hours and would ask her what she was wearing or eating. He even asked her to send him bikini pictures because he needed to know what she looked like if she ever wanted to become an actress. These occurrences turned into mental and emotional torture.
She further wrote: “He’d talk about his dick and how big it apparently is and his sexual needs. He would ask me to touch his dick and get irritated with me when I said I didn’t want to,” adding “he’d ask me to come stay over at his house and I’d find whatever excuse I could to not go. So I told him my mum didn’t allow me to stay over at people’s house.” She also wrote about the time she confided in her mother who advised her to be strong enough to handle it or quit.
“I’ve told a lot of people about these incidents, and they usually laugh at the audacity the man had, or everyone just says ‘that’s Sajid Khan for you, he’s pulled off this shit with so many girls’.”
Once he harassed to such an extent that it left her completely petrified. “He tried to grab my hand and put it on his dick to show me that I didn’t give him a boner. I shrugged it off and asked him to stop. He frantically started walking around the room telling me I was never going to have a future in this industry.”
Following this, she wrote, Khan threatened to fire her. She added, “I couldn’t take the abuse every day, so I told him to end my career if that’s what he wanted to do, but I was done.”
Saloni also wrote how it’s taken her years to get over this trauma. She also reached out to many other girls she believes have gone through the same thing. “It’s been 7 years, and it’s about time I said it out loud,” she concluded.
Saloni, in her post, also accused actor Zain Durrani of abuse and director Vikas Bahl of blatant sexism.
Journalist shares her story, accusing Khan
A journalist joined Saloni and shared her #MeToo story, accusing Sajid Khan of sexually harassing her. She has shared the details of the alleged incident on Twitter. The incident, she wrote, happened in the early 2000s. when she was at his house to interview him. She alleged that Khan, throughout the interview, continued to talk inappropriately. She went on to narrate how when she got up to leave, “he blocked her way and forced his tongue down her throat”.
The journalist also shared how even when she met him years after the incident, Khan said something to her that she can’t forget. When she warned him of his behaviour, Khan laughed and replied, “You are fatter than you used to be. I won’t touch you with a barge hole.”
Several women took to Twitter to call out former DNA editor in chief C.P. Surendran, accusing him of behaving inappropriately with them. A freelance journalist wrote how Surendran commented on her breasts while she was working with Bombay Mirror in the early 2000s. She further shared that most girls, who worked in Bombay Times around the same time, experienced harassment or inappropriate behaviour from Surendran.
Another journalist said Surendran followed her around at a party and touched her without her consent. She wrote he also went on to comment on her sexuality, calling her “naive” and “inexperienced”.
Another name added to the list is actor-poet Piyush Mishra. A woman named Ketaki Joshi has accused Mishra of harassment. She took to Facebook to narrate her ordeal.
In the post, she mentioned that she had met him in 2014 at a private party, organised by her friends. On seeing her standing in a corner, he asked her sit next to him and she did. “It was my fan moment. I praised him for his work and said I was a fan. He started lightly flirting in front of 20-25 people. Sang a song, looking right into my eyes. Everything was pleasant till then. I took it as harmless flirting. He was drinking all through the party and was too drunk by the time of wrap-up,” she wrote.
“Unfortunately, he was sitting between the kitchen and the terrace of the penthouse. As I was making another round to the terrace, he again grabbed my hand and started rubbing it. He suddenly stood up and took a step towards me. I sensed that he was coming to hug me or grope. Other people, she says, in the party came forward to help and took her away from the place. She wrote how she is not afraid even if Mishra chooses to file a defamation suit.
Filmmaker and photographer Natashja Rathore accused author and marketing guru Suhel Seth of harassing her. Rathore mentioned how Seth misled her, saying they would get some ice cream at Janpath in Delhi. Instead, he took her to his house in Gurugram. She further wrote that he forced himself upon and groped her without consent and in spite of her asking him to stop.
Ishita Yadav, a former Indian Express reporter, took to Twitter to share how Seth behaved inappropriately, with an intention of prey on her. She wrote that she knew several people who underwent the same trauma as her. She said his social connections had prevented women from calling him out as they feared legal notices or unemployment.
Two women have accused Bloomberg Quint associate editor Vishwanath Nair of sexually harassing them. While one shared how he took off his pants and tried to force her into oral sex, another said he continuously groped her. Nair, who seemed to acknowledge the first incident and apologised for it on Twitter, soon after deleted both the tweet and his account.
Several women have accused Tamil lyricist and poet Vairamuthu of sexual harassment. Multiple anonymous accounts were shared, calling out Vairamuthu as an alleged predator. In a later tweet, singer Chinmayi Sripaada also accused the lyricist of sexual misconduct and intimidation.
Chinmayi not only came out in support of survivors but also shared her own personal account.
With more survivors coming out to speak against their perpetrators, it’s certain that the #MeToo movement is here to stay.