Mumbai, (THe Hindu): Allegations of seeking sexual favours during auditions emerge against casting directors Mukesh Chhabra, Vicky Sidana As the #MeToo campaign rages on in the film industry, casting directors Mukesh Chhabra and Vicky Sidana, T-Series chairman Bhushan Kumar and Yash Raj Films Talent and Business head Ashish Patil are the latest to be accused of sexual harassment and seeking sexual favours.
Denying the allegations, Mr. Kumar, in a statement to PTI, said, “I am appalled and anguished to know that my name has been dragged in this #MeToo by some anonymous person(s). The allegations against me are bad on the face of it. I have enjoyed an impeccable reputation and have always maintained professionalism. The tweet has been used as a tool to defame me and malign my reputation.”
Senior police inspector at Amboli police station, Bharat Gaikwad, confirmed that Mr. Kumar has submitted an application seeking a complaint of defamation and criminal intimidation against unknown person for posting offending remarks and statements against him on social media and levelling sexual harassment allegations. Under #MeTooIndia on Twitter, an anonymous account had named Mr. Kumar saying, “I was new and very scared. The next day I got to know that I was dropped from the film because I refused to sleep with the ‘boss’.”
Refuting allegations of sexual harassment of aspiring actors during auditions, Mr. Chhabra released a statement saying, “It is very unfortunate that years of hard work and building is been muzzled with a series of unsubstantiated wild anonymous allegations.”
‘Cutting off ties’
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap tweeted, “I neither have any #MeToo stories nor evidence about Mukesh Chhabra. I cut off ties with him for lots of reasons related to casting and reasons that I don’t feel the need to put out in public domain.” Mr. Chhabra had worked on the casting of Netflix’s Sacred Games, which was co-directed by Mr. Kashyap, and released in July.
Mr. Chhabra opted out of a panel discussion at the ongoing India Film Project (October 13-14), an annual content creation festival held in Mumbai. Singer Raghu Dixit, journalist Meghnad Bose, comedian Aditi Mittal and Mr. Patil have also stepped down from participating in the festival after allegations of sexual harassment and assault under #MeTooIndia.
Denying allegations made anonymously on Twitter, Mr. Patil said in a statement, “They are untrue, fabricated, extremely defamatory and agenda driven.” In a tweet, Yash Raj Films also promised to take strictest action if the allegations of sexual harassment are found to be true.
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