Apparently, Preity Zinta cannot tell sexual harassment from winning a lottery. Why else would she giggle and say she wished she had a #MeToo experience to talk about, making the movement sound like a Zara sale everyone wants a piece of?
Then, like our friendly neighbourhood Twitter troll, she also cracks a '#MeToo joke'. She says she has heard a recent saying somewhere, "Aaj ka Sweetu, kal ka Me Too ban sakti hai". After saying it, both Zinta and Faridoon Shahryar, a man who identifies himself a film 'journalist', burst out laughing.
After the clip of Zinta sharing her opinions about the #MeToo movement went viral and people expressed their disappointment, she accused Shahryar of editing the video in such a way that her comments seemed insensitive.
Though the teaser has been clearly edited, parts of the conversation flow without interruption, suggesting that Zinta had said some things while being fully aware of the 'context'. For example, while she does say that the #MeToo movement was necessary, she adds that she feels 'bad' if women use it for 'personal vendetta' or to 'get publicity'.
Then, when Shahryar asks if she has ever had such an experience, she laughs and says she wishes she had faced something like that so that she'd 'at least have an answer to tell you as to how...' and trails off.
Then, she says, "People treat you the way you want to be treated." Shahryar, a man, immediately jumps in like men are wont to, to offer his sage understanding of sexual harassment faced by women. Waving his hand and narrowing his eyes like he has just solved the mystery of the universe's existence, he concludes, "It's also about how you project yourself."
Zinta nods and says 'yes'. Shahryar doesn't stop at that. Take a deep breath, do a pranayam or something that helps you with anger management and listen to what he says next.
"Many a times, there are lot of people who are saying that, you are giving all the indications and all the stuff, and after that turning back because you did not get the role, and coming up with stories, that is something that is happening as well."
So whose fault does Shahryar think it is when a woman feels compelled to offer sexual favours in exchange for work? What does it say about an industry when this is the norm?
Insinuating that sexual harassment or assault has something to do with what image a woman chooses to project is just a sophisticated version of the arguments that women get raped because they wear mini skirts, carry mobile phones or eat chowmein.
In earlier interviews, Zinta had emphasised the need to acknowledge that the industry has a problem first and then act on it. She had also said, like in the current interview, that it's not a problem exclusive to Bollywood and that, in fact, harassment happens more in other industries,
As the comments about #MeToo torched Zinta on Twitter, very little anger was directed at Shahryar for his disgusting comments. In fact, at the time of publishing this story, while Zinta had at least tried to clear the air, Shahryar went on posting 'happy birthday messages' and Twitter polls, without bothering to issue either a clarification or an apology.