The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on Monday wrote a letter to the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur seeking the removal of film producer and director Sajid Khan from the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’.
The Delhi Commission for Women has taken cognizance of the fact that Sajid Khan, who has been accused of sexual harassment and obscene behaviour by over ten women, has been allowed to participate in a popular reality show – ‘Bigg Boss’ which is watched by millions of people in the country.
Maliwal requested the I&B Minister to intervene in the matter and take necessary action to bar Sajid Khan from participating in the show. The DCW chief has requested the government to take a stand on the matter and support the vulnerable in this situation.
“Sajid Khan’s inclusion in the show underlines the precedence that men who enjoy clout in the entertainment industry can easily get away with abusive acts without facing any consequences,” Maliwal said.
“It also disrespects and invalidates those women who spoke out against his inappropriate sexual advances. They are upcoming celebrities in Bollywood and risked their careers to come forward and complain against abuse by an authority figure,” Maliwal said.
“I demand that Sajid Khan should be barred from participating in the upcoming reality show and an investigation should be conducted against him,” she added.
Highlighting the case, DCW, in a statement, said, “During the #MeToo movement, many female journalists and actresses spoke up against alleged sexual assault by Sajid Khan. Most of the complaints were similar in nature and revealed the sick mentality of Sajid Khan.”
“For instance, an Indian model alleged that she was 17 years old when Sajid Khan touched her inappropriately and asked her to strip before him if she wanted a role in his upcoming movie, Housefull 4,” the Commission stated.
“Another actress alleged that while discussing a role in the upcoming film ‘Humshakals’, Sajid Khan had asked her to remove her clothes and stated that ‘if he liked what he saw’, she might get a role in the movie,” it said.
“Another actress alleged that during the casting for the film ‘Himmatwala’, Sajid Khan asked her to strip, and when she refused to do so, he pulled her top down. She alleged that Khan stated that he needed to see her body as he was the director of the film. The sister of the victim (an upcoming actress who later committed suicide) had alleged that Sajid Khan had asked the victim to take off her undergarments during a script reading session,” it stated.
Almost all the ten women who spoke out have alleged similar offences by Sajid Khan. The Indian Film and Television Directors Association, upon receiving email complaints from a journalist and two aspiring actresses, suspended Sajid Khan from directing movies in 2019. Furthermore, he was also dropped as a director from the film ‘Housefull 4’ when these complaints surfaced, said in a statement from the commission.