Director Subhash Ghai was caught in the MeToo storm when an anonymous woman accused him of spiking her drink and sexually assaulting her inside a hotel room on social media. The woman's account of sexual abuse encouraged actress Kate Sharma to come out with her story when Ghai allegedly tried to forcefully kiss her, hug her, touched her private parts and threatened her when she refused to spend the night with him at his house.
While Bollywood stars like Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar and directors have vowed not to work with sexual offenders (accused and proven), actor Shatrughan Sinha said that he will continue to work with his Ghai even if he is proven guilty of his misconduct and serves the punishment given by the court.
"Why not? If he is proven innocent, why not? Even if he is proven guilty, and he serves the punishment given to him, I'd work with him. Sanjay Dutt served his jail sentence and is back working in our large-hearted film industry. In fact, we had no problem working with him even when he was an accused in a serious case," Shatrughan Sinha told IANS in an interview adding that he is all for the MeToo movement.
When Sinha was told that top actors and directors have decided not to work with sexual offenders, he replied, "This hypocrisy I can't understand. They have no problem working with Sanjay Dutt who has been convicted. But they want to blacklist people whose guilt is yet to be proven. Just to look like heroes of the MeToo movement."
He further added, "I don't want to name anyone. But I will say this. Sau choohe khaa kar billi haj ko chali'. Those seeking to perch themselves on a high moral ground should look into their conscience. The problem of sexual exploitation doesn't end with some names being put out in the social media. This is just the beginning. The problem runs much deeper."
Talking about MeToo movement in India that gained momentum with Tanushree Dutta calling out Nana Patekar for sexually harassing her in 2008, Sinha said that though he supports the movement, he thinks that it is being blown out of all proportion.
"While the cause was definitely noble and praiseworthy, it has now become a free-for-all. Anyone can name and shame anyone. Reputations and jobs are being lost through a trial by media. To all the women who are aggrieved I say, please go to court and make sure the wrongdoers are punished," Sinha added.
Speaking on the ongoing court case against his party colleague MJ Akbar, Sinha said, "I don't even know which political party I belong to anymore! Having said that, M.J. Akbar is a friend. And a wise one. I know him from the time he revolutionised journalism in this country. He knows what he is doing, and why. I believe he has employed 97 lawyers to defend him against charges (of sexual harassment). He should have employed three more lawyers... It would have been a century... Seriously, how can he afford such a massive legal fleet? I can't afford it if I ever need it.