Singer Sona Mohapatra criticised Sony Pictures International on Thursday for reinstating music director Anu Malik in the singing reality show Indian Idol a year after she and singer Shweta Pandit accused him of sexual misconduct. Singer Neha Bhasin backed her up, posting on Twitter that she had also been harassed by Malik.
In an open letter posted on Twitter, Mohapatra said, “A year later, a sexual predator like Anu is back as a judge on national TV. What does this say about us as a society? Would Sony dare to do this in the USA on American Idol? No. Because there, they know the public and industry outcry would harm them... other celebrities and successful achievers would refuse to participate in our show.”
Mohapatra also hit out at other celebrities such as Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar, who are fellow judges on the show, and host Aditya Narayan for continuing to work with Malik despite the allegations.
Bhasin came out in support of Mohapatra, shared an instance on Twitter of being sexually harassed by Malik.
Mohapatra has relentlessly spoken out against people in the film industry who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
During the #MeToo movement in India in October 2018, Mohapatra had shared her story of sexual harassment by Kailash Kher on Twitter after at least four other women raised allegations against the singer.
Since then, the singer has continued to call out people who have associated themselves with these singers. In December 2018, she urged the Delhi government to drop Kher from a cultural event and even started a change.org petition.
In September, when Malik’s return to Indian Idol was announced, Mohapatra had protested the move.
When the allegations against Malik first surfaced last year, his lawyer, Zulfiquar Memon, had said #MeToo was being used for character assassination.
Memon had said, “The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless.
“My client respects the #MeToo movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious.”
Anu Malik is among many others from Bollywood such as Kailash Kher, Alok Nath,Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Rajat Kapoor, Vivek Agnihotri, Vikas Bahl and Nana Patekar, who have been named by women in the #MeToo movement.