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MeToo: Mahesh Bhupathi vows to cut contact with all accused, says Lara Dutta left project in protest

Tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi and his actor wife Lara Dutta have vowed to stop engaging with those accused of sexual harassment.

Updated: Oct 20, 2018 16:01 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

Mahesh Bhupathi shared a long note detailing how his wife Lara Dutta refused an offer to work with Mukesh Chhabra. (Instagram)

Tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi has shared a long note on social media to address the MeToo movement raging across the country. He has vowed to not engages with any person accused of sexual harassment and has urged his peers to do the same.

Mahesh began his note by expressing shock over the several accounts of harassment and assault shared by women in Bollywood, media and other industries in the last few weeks. He wrote that it is time that people in positions of power broke their silence on the matter and took stricter steps to make their workplaces safer for women.

 

He wrote that his wife and actor Lara Dutta recently turned down a project offer from Mukesh Chhabra’s casting company after he was accused of sexual harassment by two women. He said that while he appreciated his wife’s decision, he still wondered if that was enough. He pulled up the ‘cream of the industry’ for their refusal to support the movement and continuing to work with those accused of sexual misconduct.



Mahesh said he has himself heard stories -- directly and indirectly -- but he chose to ignore them since “business is business”. But not anymore. He also urged those who are in a position of influence through their massive social platforms, to stop engaging and start alienating “serial predators”. Here is his full note:

What a disturbing fortnight its been with all these Me Too stories coming out. My Initial reaction was its about time; but this feeling quickly gave way to paranoia. I suppose being the father of a 6 year old girl had a lot to do with that. As women around the country continue to share their horrific stories, most people in a position of power - influencers, as they’re popularly called - have chosen to stay silent on the matter.

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.

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 than is not directing Houseful’ 4 anymore, but is that enough?

A peek at Suhel Seth’s Instagram 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 behavior. 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.

I think its Important for people to understand what those accused In the Me Too movement have been doing. They have systematically been *preying* on women - and in some cases men - who are chasing a dream.. of a job, a role, a promotion, a break.

Last night a friend from the talent Industry told me everyone Is waiting for a month or so for matters to die down and then it will be business as usual. That’s when I decided that I may not have any influence but I do need to say something. I am as guilty as anyone of remaining silent. I have heard stories, directly and indirectly, but I chose to Ignore them since’ business Is business.’ But that stops today.

Personally or professionally. I have known and engaged with Suhel Seth, Vikas Behl, Anirban Blah, Chetan Bhagat. Sajid Khan and Anu Malik. That ends today on all accounts.

To all those who are in a position of influence through their massive social platforms, I have a simple appeal: Stop engaging. Alienate these ‘serial predators.’ 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.

The #MeToo movement in India sparked with actor Tanushree Dutta renewing a 10-year-old allegation against fellow actor Nana Patekar, opening the floodgates for a sea of complaints against several other celebrities.

Actors and corporates in the movie industry have stepped up efforts to take stern action against offenders.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

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