Author Ira Trivedi accuses Chetan Bhagat of sexual harassment
The #MeToo movement has spread its tentacles in the literary world as well. Ira Trivedi has accused fellow author Chetan Bhagat and advertising executive Suhel Seth of sexual harassment.
— Ira Trivedi (@iratrivedi) October 13, 2018
#MeToo | He made a pass at me. I ducked as he tried to plant a kiss on my lips: Best-selling author and award-winning journalist Ira Trivedi shares her harrowing experience with Chetan Bhagat@iratrivedi @chetan_bhagat @suhelseth#MeTooIndia https://t.co/tYG5qSFGJy
— Outlook Magazine (@Outlookindia) October 13, 2018
In an article published by Outlook India, she revealed how Chetan Bhagat would make a pass at her and make her feel uncomfortable a lot of times. On one occasion, he also tried to forcefully kiss her. She also revealed that he tried to grope one of her friends and tried to make several inappropriate passes verbally and physically.
“Much like one of his novels, Chetan sets the scene through phone-flirting and then when – and if – he meets her in person alone, he makes his move, whether she likes it or not, whether it is appropriate or not, whether it hurts her, his family or not.” – Ira Trivedi
Ira Trivedi mentioned how he would meet her at various panels. Once, he commented on the size of her breasts. On another occasion, he asked her if she had waxed her legs. As time grew, he became more familiar with her and other women. It was then that he started putting his arms around their waists at parties and even planting kisses on their cheeks or lips.
What made her speak up
In the article for Outlook, she went on to talk about how reading so many women’s stories on #MeToo made her stronger.
“Today, I am older, I am wiser and the voice of so many women has made me braver. Today, I know better about what is right and wrong when it comes to rules of engagement. Today, I am ready to speak up. The unsavoury truth is that all of us are surrounded by Suhels and Chetans. Because of the sphere that I inhabit I have had to deal with them specifically, but they exist in so many forms and ways. Young women are continuously abused and assaulted. Every one of us has a #MeToo story, yet we are trained by the generations before us, not to talk about it, consciously and subconsciously. We are made to believe that our stories don’t really matter, that they won’t make a difference, and that if we come out and speak then we are going to be thought of as attention seekers or trouble makers. We are made to blame ourselves if men behave badly. We are taught to quash our anger, swallow our pride, laugh and turn away. Meanwhile the Suhels and Chetans of this world are given free license to run amok and plough forward, being cheered on by nervous laughter at parties, applause at literature festivals and by their unsuspecting millions of fans on social media.”, she wrote.
Today, I am older, I am wiser and the voice of so many women has made me braver. Today, I know better about what is right and wrong when it comes to rules of engagement.
This is not the first time that Chetan Bhagat has been accused of sexual harassment. A woman reportedly shared screenshots of a conversation between her and Chetan Bhagat, in which the author says he wants to woo her and ignores her protests that he is married.
Soon after, Bhagat released a statement on Facebook, saying he wanted to “apologise to the person concerned”, said he had felt “a strong connection” with her, and added he may have “misread the friendliness”.
At least four women, including one who said she was a minor at the time of the alleged incident, have accused Suhel Seth of sexual harassment.
The #MeToo movement gained momentum in India after Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of harassment. Women have accused filmmakers Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai, Subhash Kapoor and actor Rajat Kapoor of sexual harassment.