Veteran journalist Vinod Dua, who hosts a video show with the Hindi arm of leftist propaganda website The Wire, uploaded a new video yesterday, days after he was accused of sexually harassing a woman who had just started her career in media and journalism. In the full video, apart from usual half-truths that he is known to peddle, Dua also commented on these allegations.
And his comments were outrageous. No wonder, The Wire had to delete the original video message, and upload an edited version, which was no less outrageous.
He would have spoken for little over 2 minutes on the issue, but he made various comments that are controversial and demeaning.
Following are 5 major things he said or did in his video address:
- Vinod Dua claimed that the allegations of sexual harassment by various women, which are being marked as India’s #MeToo moment, were not “real issues” or the kind of questions that should be raised as 2019 general elections approach. This statement is no difference from the defense MJ Akbar had offered when he was asked about allegations against him. Akbar too had linked these to upcoming elections. MJ Akbar had to resign from this post of union minister earlier today.
- Dua likened the allegations to “keechad” (mud), virtually claiming that women coming out with their accounts of sexual harassment were indulging in mudslinging. He didn’t even contextualize his statement by qualifying that some of these allegations could be true and some false. This is akin to some Bollywood personalities dismissing the entire #MeToo movement as being “fashionable”.
- When talking about sexual harassment in the above context, Vinod Dua can be seen having a smirk on his face (watch the video here). If his choice of words were not problematic, even his body language showed that he didn’t consider #MeToo movement of India as any worthy movement. His tone when he points out that many of these allegations are pretty old (the way he says “tees saal pahle” – watch the video here) suggests that the matter loses its importance just because it’s old, or worse, virtually asks women ‘why did they not speak up earlier’?
- Dua further claimed that allegations specific to him were not of the nature that could be termed as sexual harassment. He claimed that he was merely accused of “discomforting” someone, and not sexually harassing someone. This, when the victim had clearly said that Dua had not only verbally insulted her, but ‘slobbered all over her face’ (tried to forcibly kiss her) against her wishes. An act Vinod Dua thinks can’t be called sexual harassment.
- Instead of offering himself for any investigation, Vinod Dua asked The Wire to complete their investigation, in his absence, in one week. He further said that if The Wire finds him guilty, he will record one last show, else he will continue his show as normal. This is as arrogant and bizarre it can get. Dua has virtually told The Wire to give him clean chit in one week, else he will discontinue his show. Even in case of being found guilty, he demands the privilege of airing his views. Further, the one-week notice is quite arbitrary, as it doesn’t consider availability of the victim or time needed to verify various charges.