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Anu Malik Steps Down As Indian Idol Judge After Multiple #MeToo Allegations

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In November first week, singers Neha Bhasin, Sona Mahapatra and Shweta Pandit had come out against Sony Television’s move to reinstate Bollywood music composer Anu Malik, against whom there were multiple #MeToo allegations last year, as a judge on the reality show Indian Idol. In a series of tweets, the singers spoke about Malik’s predatory nature, and slammed the television industry for facilitating sexual harassers.

On November 21, Sony TV confirmed to the media that Anu Malik had stepped down as a judge in Indian Idol show. Mahapatra hailed the move as “symbolic victory” to all women who have undergone sexual harassment.

However, in a latest interview with Hindustan Times, Anu Malik said that Sony never asked him to step down as a jury member. He said that he hadn’t quit the show, but had only taken a three-week break. He denied the sexual harassment accusations again, saying the social media campaign going on against him was false and malicious.

Neha Bhasin, in a tweet posted on October 30, accused Anu Malik of sexually harassing her fifteen years ago, when she was 21. “We do live in a very sexist world. Anu Malik is a predator. I too have run away from his strange moves when I was 21. I didn’t let myself get into a sticky situation beyond him lying on a sofa in front of me talking about my eyes in a studio. I fled lying,” wrote Bhasin on Twitter. “I fled lying my mum’s waiting below. He even messaged and called me after that to which I stopped responding. The point is I went to give him my CD and hoped for a chance at a song. He was older and shouldn’t have behaved the way he did.”

Malik was removed from Indian Idol in 2018 after multiple #MeToo accusations, returned to television in July 2019 through the children’s reality music show, ‘Superstar Singer’. Mahapatra and Bhasin slammed Sony television for bringing ‘sexual predators’ back to business.

Mohapatra, on October 31, posted an open letter on social media, in which she said she was asked to leave the judge’s position of a music reality show after she spoke up about sexual predators in Bollywood. “I was marked as a troublemaker and asked to leave. Overnight. A year later, a sexual predator like Anu is back as Judge on national TV. What does this say about us as a society?” she asked in the letter.

Also read, Several Men Accused In #Metoo Make ‘Comeback’; Women Who Spoke Up Pay A Heavy Price

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