Singer Anu Malik, is next in line to step down from his position after nearly three women coming out and accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Malik will no longer be a part of the jury panel of the popular singing reality show, Indian Idol Season 10, as reported by IANS.
Sony Entertainment Television channel via an official statement, said, that the show will continue as scheduled and biggest names in Indian music were as guests to join the current jury members.
“Anu Malik is no longer a part of the ‘Indian Idol’ jury panel. The show will continue its planned schedule and we will invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar to judge the extraordinary talent of ‘Indian Idol’ season 10.”
Anu Malik is no longer a part of Indian Idol jury panel. The show will continue its planned schedule & we'll invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal&Neha to judge extraordinary talent of Indian Idol season 10: Sony Entertainment Television #MeToo pic.twitter.com/uJmEK1cq4X
— ANI (@ANI) October 21, 2018
Singers Sona Mohapatra and Shweta Pandit, had earlier called him a “paedophile” and a “sexual predator”.
Had to go back to my worst memory as a teenage girl today to write this and speak up – its now or never. This is my #MeToo and have to warn young girls about #AnuMalik & let you know your #TimesUp @IndiaMeToo
Thank you @sonamohapatra for speaking up about him & supporting this pic.twitter.com/e261pGQyEq
— Shweta Pandit (@ShwetaPandit7) October 17, 2018
Sending you love,big healing & strength @ShwetaPandit7 .That #AnuMalik did this to you as a child is something #India has to make note of.Thank U so much for being brave & bringing this out in the open.I know how difficult that is & the pressure to let ‘bygones be bygones’. (1)
— SONA (@sonamohapatra) October 17, 2018
That so many people trolled me for my #AnuMalik #TimesUp story scoffing because they think calling me ‘Maal’ or calling up at odd hours doesn’t constitute as sexual harassment.Please note,you DONT KNOW SHIT.Predators do much worse when they get a chance because of people like you
— SONA (@sonamohapatra) October 17, 2018
The music director and Indian Idol judge had denied all allegations that he harassed Shweta. In his statement, his lawyer, Zulfiquar Memon said,
“The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless. My client respects the #MeToo movement, but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious.”
However, it was not over and moments later Anu Malik’s lawyer issued a statement on Thursday calling singer Shweta Pandit’s sexual harassment allegations “false and baseless”, two new survivors, who wish to remain anonymous came out with their stories of exploitation by the music composer. In an interview to Mid-day, they said they fully supported Pandit and Sona Mohapatra, who were the first ones to speak against Malik.
Excerpts from Mid-day
A then-aspiring singer recalled how she had met Malik in 1990 at Mehboob Studios where he was recording a song. She states that in the brief meeting, the music composer had “rubbed his body against me” and offered a meek apology when she appeared shaken by his advances. However, things took a turn for the worse days later, when she found herself coordinating with Malik for a fundraiser.
“My friend and I went to Neha Apartments [Malik’s house] in Juhu, upon Anu Malik’s request to discuss the fundraiser. He introduced us to his wife and Anmol, who was around eight months old. A few days later, he called me over to his house again for another meeting. Since my friend was not in the city, I went alone. After we had an informal chat in his music room, he moved the conversation to the lounge. Once there, he sat next to me on the sofa. I realised I was trapped as his family was not at home. He then lifted my skirt and dropped his pants. I thought of pushing him and rushing out the door, but he was too strong for me. Luckily, the doorbell rang at that moment.
Irritated, he told me to stay put and went to answer the door. In the seconds that he dealt with the delivery boy, I tried to leave. But he caught hold of me in the narrow passage. He apologised stating that he was a ‘passionate’ guy, and offered to drop me at my residence. He also dissuaded me from telling anyone, saying that no one would believe me as he was Anu Malik and I was a nobody. He also threatened to ‘know people’ if I went to the police station,” she recounts.
The situation spiralled downwards during their drive to her SoBo apartment. “Having moved to the city only three years ago, I had little idea of Bombay roads. It was around 8.30pm when he drove into a dark, empty maidan. Scared, I asked him where we were. But he simply unzipped his pants and asked me to lick him! I told him no and urged him to let me go, but he pulled me by my hair and stuffed my face in his lap, hurling abuses as he did so. Thankfully, a security guard tapped on the window at that moment. As he spoke to the guard, I unlocked my door and ran for my life.”
A budding singer was approached to participate in the ongoing Indian Idol 10 as a wild card entry.
“I refused the offer because Anu Malik [one of the judges] has already damaged my career. I told them that I will not be judged by the talentless hack,” says the survivor, who accuses Malik of having sexually harassed her, seven years ago.
She recalls Malik being one of the several music composers she met during her struggling years as a singer. While her first meeting with him progressed smoothly, she was scarred by what transpired in the second meeting at Sahara Studios, Goregaon. “He asked me if I had a boyfriend. When I said ‘no’, he said, ‘Oh, so you don’t even have anyone to hold you, you must be so lonely.’ The comment was uncalled for. He then went on to say, ‘You should wear a chiffon sari next time you meet me.’
At this point, I knew it was time to leave. As I got up, he grabbed me and hugged me, all the while running his hands over my body. Panic struck me as I realised the recording studio was sound-proof and no one would hear me even if I screamed. I pushed him away and said, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ The sick pervert immediately broke into his presumably rehearsed line: ‘No, I am happy with my wife, I am a sensitive man!’ I rushed out and was relieved to be out on the road and safe again. When I told a friend, who is a successful singer’s daughter, about the incident, she said, ‘Anu Mama strikes again.'”
Quiz her why she didn’t report the case to the cops and she says, “How would I prove what he did? I doubt there were any CCTV cameras back then. I was all alone in the city and taking up a police case was not something I could do.”
Mid-day called Malik and sent him a detailed text seeking his comment on the story. However, the music composer had not responded till the time of going to press.
Anu Malik has been the only jury member consistent on Indian Idol since 2004, when the reality show commenced.
With inputs from IANS and Mid-Day
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