Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Silverscreen India carried a feature on Amazon Prime’s Pushpavalli, titled, Sumukhi Suresh’s ‘Pushpavalli’ has the best character arc written for a woman in Indian streaming. The piece mentioned a cast member of Sumukhi’s other show, Better Life Foundation, Utsav Chakraborty to highlight the fact that it is no longer streaming on Hotstar. It said, “Better Life Foundation has been pulled out of Hotstar following several #Metoo allegations against cast member Utsav Chakraborty.”
Today, Chakroborty wrote an email, with the subject line ‘Amendments’ contesting this line. We have reproduced his email (with permission) verbatim below. (Silverscreen India asserts that Better Life Foundation is not streaming on Hotstar. And though Hotstar has not officially said so, it was pulled out following #Metoo as Utsav points out in his tweet to them.)
I don’t know if you have kept up with all the things I put up on my end back in the November of 2019, but here it is:
Literally every allegation against me was proved wrong with actual evidence (and not screenshots of hearsay like back in October 2018). I tracked the anonymous allegations down and proved that they either lied by design or by omission or just to be part of a trending topic, hoping their anonymity wouldn’t be traced back to them. But unfortunately for them, it was.
Three of the women apologized, about 7 deleted their accounts. The woman who primarily called me out had tried to threaten me with dire consequences if I came out with screenshots that proved my innocence.
Here is the hour-long phonecall in question:
She (Mahima Kukreja) deleted her account as well.
My whole life was taken apart by these allegations by these awful, malicious people. I had no one but my own wits to tackle this charge. It took me over a year. But I put it out there. I have had no financial backing or legal help throughout. I’m not some bigshot to threaten women into submission. Even before, I was basically an underpaid extra at AIB. In fact, most of the allegations were made by people who are immensely financially well off/settled in foreign countries. I fought this fairly and with real facts.
Here’s the thread. Please go through it and check and double-check everything:
"Why would so many women lie about one person?"
In the next few tweets, I will tackle all the malicious insinuations and abject falsehoods put forth on me either by @AGirlOfHerWords or the media frenzy that followed. Stay tuned.
— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
My objective in calling out these women, was only to end the cycle of shaming. It never was to undermine #metoo or any actual survivors.
This was a massive egg on the face of Indian media for their ad-hoc reporting and their policy of not verifying any information put out online. But despite that, some of them reported it.
So my plea to you is to go through the thread I put up and the news articles as well. Don’t become the same mob that tried to ruin my life with no proof. That is all I can ask of you.
Featured image: The Print