CEO Tanmay Bhat steps away from AIB, Gursimran Khamba sent on leave after sexual harassment allegations
As the #MeToo movement has got many women in our country coming up with their horrific experiences, we are getting to hear many of them each passing day. This movement is also unmasking some people whom we never associated with being such predators.
A week before, Mumbai based comedy collective AIB (All India Bakchod) did away with writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty following allegations of sexual harassment.
AIB had to face heavy criticism for failing to take proper action despite complaints and they announced on Monday that founding member and CEO Tanmay Bhat will be “stepping away” as his role in the controversy could not be “overlooked”.
Not only Bhat but another founding member of AIB, Gursimran Khamba, has been accused of sexual harassment. He has been asked to go on temporary leave and issued a separate statement denying “any violation of consent”.
Bhat and AIB apologized in a statement titled “We’re sorry” for not taking proper actions against Chakraborty earlier. Bhat had confronted Chakraborty regarding the allegations which resulted in the victim being harassed further.
“By harassment, we meant that Utsav called up the person, cried, apologised, putting her in an uncomfortable position”
According to the statement by AIB HR head, Vidhi Jotwani, Bhat will not be involved in the day-to-day functioning of the company. Bhat and Khamba refused to respond to any messages sent by the Indian Express.
— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) October 8, 2018
Khamba took it to Instagram to narrate his side of the story. He denied being forceful with the victim in the incident mentioned in October and December. However, he accepted the shameful behavior on his part and put forward an apology.
Jotwani said that it is a big setback for AIB, a group that now faces an uncertain future.
“Truthfully, we don’t know what this means for the future of AIB or whether there is one. In the interim, Ashish Shakya, Rohan Joshi and other senior team members will work towards being able to answer that question over the next several months”
She added that it was everyone’s right to work in a safe environment and AIB hopes to:
“Enable measures to establish our commitment to creating a gender-sensitive workspace. We are in the process of consulting various experts to ensure that our work culture incorporates sensitivity, inclusivity, respect and fairness”
Chakraborty had many women turning against him with accusations of sexual harassment after a writer and fellow comic of AIB accused him a week back. The woman also took a dig at AIB for not taking any actions despite her telling them about it. On October 5, Chakraborty tweeted:
“It’s a little too late now but I am sorry, I really am. I can’t think of myself as a victim anymore. Please tell me what to do now.”
AIB then issued an apology for not taking actions two years ago when the complaint was made and for continuing to acquire Chakraborty’s services despite being aware of the allegations against him.
As far as Khamba is concerned, Jotwani said:
“…these allegations pertain to a private matter and he has released a statement of his own about the same. However, as an organisation, we believe that it would be prudent to place Gursimran Khamba on a temporary leave of absence until we have more clarity on the matter.”
This is really shameful for an esteemed organization like AIB and also India as a nation. If a change needs to come it needs to come from within which will allow women to work in a safe and respectful environment.