India’s comedy scene seems to be on the precipice of its own #MeToo movement with several women, including minors, publicly accusing stand-up comedian Utsav Chakraborty of sexually harassing them through social media.
It all started earlier today when a woman responded to Chakraborty’s tweet about Indian men harassing women on a cruise by describing how he’d harassed her by sending her “unsolicited dick pics”.
The woman’s tweet set off an avalanche of similar allegations against Chakraborty by several women. Multiple women, some anonymous and some not, have messaged her stories of how Chakraborty “slid into their DMs” without any prior contact and asked them to send nudes.
Stand-up comedian Aditi Mittal was one of the first of the industry to respond to the allegations, she questioned Chakraborty on the thread where the woman is sharing more allegations against him, but he did not respond.
Varun Grover also tweeted his support for these women and added that Indian comedy is due for its own #TimesUp movement.
Sumedh Natu, another known face in Indian comedy, also tweeted to call out the silence by male Indian comedians following these allegations.
Mittal and the woman have also specifically called out All Indian Bakchod (AIB) for supposedly knowing about Chakraborty’s behaviour but continuing to employ him.
Another woman who shared her story of being solicited for nudes by Chakraborty said that she stopped watching AIB videos after he harassed her three years ago.
After keeping silent initially, AIB released a statement condemning Chakraborty’s “alleged behaviour.” They also apologised for any part they might have played in furthering such behaviour and said that pending the result of a full investigation – if any takes place – AIB has immediately delisted “every single video on our channels that feature Utsav.”
Chakraborty also recently started anchoring a new talk show titled ‘Suresh Talks Love in India’ for Vice India. While Vice seems to have taken down the show’s link on their site and Facebook page, they have not made an official statement yet.
Chakraborty first posted on Twitter, saying:
He stated that “the whole thing” needs “an incredible amount of context” which he hopes to provide “sooner rather than later.”
Then later he posted a more detailed account of his version of events. Over the course of several tweets, Chakraborty said that he had been in a “haze” due to medication for a chronic disease and was, at times, not aware of who he was messaging or what they desired out of their exchanges with him. While Chakraborty offered explanations for sending explicit messages and pictures to several women, saying that he had sent pictures of other men’s penises that he found on Reddit; he has vehemently denied sending pictures of his genitalia unless they were asked for, and has also denied asking for and sending nudes to a minor.