Following allegations of misconduct during the #MeToo movement October last year, All India Bakchod founders Tanmay Bhat has been demoted and has stepped down as the CEO of the company. Apologising to his former colleagues at AIB, the stand-up comedian in an Instagram post on Thursday, said that he failed as a leader. He also said that how disappointing it to not live up to the “ideals” he himself stands for. Further, he vowed that he would strive to make women feel “safe”, in case he assumed “any leadership capacity in the future.”
Gursimran Khamba, on the other hand, is terminated from the company. He won’t be a part of AIB’s daily operations after he withdrew from sexual harassment enquiry. On Wednesday, a statement has issued by AIB on Twitter which stated, “Tanmay Bhat’s lapse of judgement regarding Utsav Chakraborty was egregious. As a result, even though Tanmay Bhat’s suspension has been lifted, he will no longer hold the position of CEO.”
“I am deeply sorry for the distress I’ve caused to my friends, and anyone affected by my actions. I am deeply sorry to my colleagues who’ve had to go through immense stress that I feel responsible for,” Bhat wrote.
“I realise that in the past, I’ve failed to live up to ideals that I’ve propagated myself, and my resolve is to ensure that this never happens again,” he added.
Bhat further said, “I welcome critique and accountability from followers of my work, both men and women. In any leadership capacity in the future, I will strive to build spaces in which women feel welcomed, valued, safe, heard and nurtured.”
“I am committing to a daily process of unlearning, rewiring, and learning. To those who continue to have faith in me – thank you for giving me this invaluable opportunity to change and grow. I want to now look forward and let my actions prove my growth,” he added.
In October 2018, Chakraborty was out of the team following allegations of sexual harassment by women on social media. Several women allegedly reported that he had sent them unsolicited pictures. It also came to light that Bhat despite being aware of Chakraborty’s actions did not take any serious steps against him. Later in another statement, All India Bakchod accepted that Tanmay Bhat had knowledge of the accusations. The company was informed of the harassment meted out by him to a woman who had confided in Tanmay.
There were also allegations that Khamba harassed another woman and hence both of them had been ousted since.
Soon after the news broke out, Comedy group AIB decided to take down every video featuring Utsav, a former member. Women complained and AIB also called out Utsav’s behaviour as unacceptable. “We are also aware that by extending safe working spaces and a collaborative environment to people like Utsav, we have contributed towards a toxic environment that can be scary and unsafe for women. And so we are sorry for any part we may have played in the tolerance or furthering of such behaviour,” AIB had said in a statement posted on Twitter earlier.
Their YouTube channel was “dead for the foreseeable future,” said in the statement and they had to let go of their employees too.