Singer Sona Mohapatra has slammed the Sony TV and the makers of popular singing reality show Indian Idol for reinstating music director Anu Malik back as the show’s judge despite complaints of sexual harassment against him. In a long note, Sona has criticised Sony TV’s move and has also criticised many others in the music industry for allegedly not speaking up against workplace sexual harassment prevalent in the industry.
In an open letter written by Sona, she has mentioned that Neha Bhasin, Shweta Pandit, Anu Malik’s doctor’s 14-year-old daughter and many others had raised their voice against the sexual harassment meted out to them by the music director.
Slamming media and Sony TV, Sona questioned Sony’s decision of reinstating Malik back on the jury panel despite serious allegations levelled against him the previous year. She also stated that when she called out Anu Malik’s predatory behaviour last year, she was ousted from the jury panel of SaReGaMaPa with the co-judge reasoning out that the ‘publicity’ she provided to Anu Malik had shot up the TRPs of the Indian Idol show.
Singer Neha Bhasin too has supported Sona’s statement. Neha has written that she had ‘ran away’ from a ‘sticky situation’ when she was 21 and she had faced Anu Malik lying in a sofa and talking about her eyes in a studio.
Last year, when the #MeToo movement was making headlines and many women were sharing their stories of workplace sexual harassment, Anu Malik was accused by many women of being a sexual predator. Singer Shweta Pandit had gone so far as calling him a paedophile. Pandit had accused that when she was 15, Malik had asked her for a kiss when she was alone during a song recording.
Apart from Malik and Sony TV, Sona Mohapatra has also called out other singers and music directors like Sonu Nigam, Neha Kakkar, Aditya Narayan and Vishal Dadlani for supporting Anu Malik. She has even termed Aditya Narayan and Neha Kakkar as ‘spineless’.
It is notable here that last year, Mohapatra had levelled harassment allegations against Malik which Malik had denied. Sona had alleged that Malik had referred to her as ‘maal’ and used to call her up repeatedly at odd hours.
Sona has also claimed that by getting a sports icon like Sachin Tendulkar to praise the singers of Indian Idol and promote their show, Sony TV is trying to divert the issue. She has called Tendulkar’s praise of Indian Idol singers a ‘diabolical plan’ by Sony TV.