Speaking in her defence today, Priya Ramani stated, “…by deliberately targeting me, Akbar seeks to divert the attention away from the serious allegations of sexual misconduct against him and the public outrage that followed.” She added, “It is unfortunate that women who experienced sexual harassment at the workplace must now defend themselves in criminal proceedings for speaking their truth.” The court adjourned the matters September 7.
Priya Ramani – The Highlights Of Her Defence in Court
My defence is the truth, spoken in public interest and for public good. It’s only now that sexual harrassment at the workplace is regarded as a serious offence.
I would like to share my story in brief. I was 23 when MJ Akbar, the editor of a soon to be launched Asian Age newspaper called me to his hotel for a job interview. When I got there, I had expected the interview to be in the lobby or the coffee shop…but Akbar insisted that I come up to his room. I was young, it was my first job interview, I didn’t know how to refuse. I didn’t know that I could set the terms of my interview.
When I reached his room, it was an intimate space, essentially his bedroom.. I was deeply uncomfortable, felt unsafe at Mr Akbar’s repeated, inappropriate personal questions, his offer of an alcoholic beverage, his loud singing of songs, his invitation to sit close to him.
Also Read, In This Case So Far:
- MJ Akbar denies meeting Priya Ramani in hotel room
- Priya Ramani pleads not guilty in the MJ Akbar defamation case
- MJ Akbar shows off career, Priya Ramani gets public support
Later that night, I called my friend Nilofer and told her what had happened. In Oct 2017, the #MeToo
movement in America emboldened countless women and share their experiences of sexual harrassment at workplace. In this context, I wrote a piece for Vogue magazine.
MJ Akbar has filed a false case against me. He has deliberately targetted me to divert attention away from serious complaints against him. Through his testimony, Akbar feigned ignorance about my story and my truth.
It is unfortunate that women who experienced sexual harassment at the workplace must now defend themselves in criminal proceedings for speaking their truth.