Bollywood actor Richa Chadha, who was at the receiving end of the public backlash for stereotyping of the Dalit community in the poster of her upcoming movie ‘Madam Chief Minister’, has come out in defence of the movie director Subash Kapoor, an accused in the MeToo movement. Kapoor was accused of sexual misconduct by actor Geetika Tyagi and Richa was recently seen defending her decision of collaborating with a director accused of sexual harassment.
Chadha’s decision to collaborate with Subash Kapoor has raised several eyebrows, given the actor’s vocal support to the #MeToo movement that took the country by storm in 2018. Justifying her decision to work with the scam-tainted director, Richa said she won’t judge anybody until the court passes a verdict. The actor said that she still supports the #MeToo movement as before but added that she doesn’t believe in ‘social media trials’.
“I stand by the #MeToo movement. But at the same time, I don’t believe in social media trials. Unlike other [accusations] that were brought to light on Twitter, this case is subjudice. We must respect the law of the land and the court’s verdict. Till the court passes a verdict, I won’t judge anybody,” Richa said.
Subhash Kapoor accused of sexual misconduct by actor Geetika Tyagi
For the unversed, Subhash Kapoor was accused of sexual misconduct by actor Geetika Tyagi in 2014. A video of Geetika slapping the Jolly LLB director had gone viral on the internet in which the actor was seen confronting the director over harassment at a party. Kapoor was arrested on molestation charges but released on the same day.
In 2018, after MeToo stories of women being subjected to molestation began circulating at large, actor Aamir Khan backed out of Subhash Kapoor’s Mogul. The actor, however, returned to the film and backed Kapoor, stating that the case was under trial. Khan’s return to Kapoor’s film had disappointed Geetika, who had then stated that the industry is patriarchal and only women had to suffer the consequences of raising their voice against sexual harassment.
“The industry is patriarchal. Only women face the repercussions of complaining against sexual harassment, whether in the workplace or otherwise. They are ostracised when they complain. It’s a sensitive decision on Aamir’s part that Subhash shouldn’t be treated badly until proven guilty. But what about my livelihood that has stopped since 2014? Criminal cases take time [to be served justice]and that’s a reality,” Tyagi said in an interview with Mid-Day.
Richa Chadha vigorously supported MeToo victims and called out sexual predators on social media
While Chadha has now resorted to mouthing off platitudes on refraining from indulging in social media trials and respecting the law of the land, it is notable to mention that she felt no qualms in calling out those who were accused in the MeToo movement.
At the height of the MeToo movement, Chadha posted a tweet, essentially indulging in what she now calls as ‘social media trial’. In her tweet, she alleged that a certain Prof Atul Johri of the JNU ticks 8 of the 9 boxes that qualify as sexual harassment and came to the defence of the Bollywood, asking why only the showbiz industry is treated with intense scrutiny while others get a free pass.
Allegedly Prof Atul Johri’s behavior ticks 8 of 9 boxes that qualify as #Sexualharassment.Wonder why peeps at JNU @mamidala90 @chintamani36 are silent.And for all those who point fingers at only the film industry,is #SexualHarassment in other places not newsworthy?🙄#MeToo pic.twitter.com/kf8iqsLeOY— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) March 18, 2018
In another tweet, Richa appeared to celebrate the resignation of TOI resident editor KR Sreenivas, who was accused in the MeToo movement. Richa said, “If sexually harassing women wasn’t able to destroy his career, then his legacy is now gone.”
Good. This will stay in his footnote as a lesson for all others. If sexually harassing women wasn’t able to destroy his career, then his legacy is now gone. Such a pity! #MeToo #MeTooIndia https://t.co/LJaGNWi3h6— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) October 13, 2018
The same courtesy of not subjecting the accused to a social media trial was not extended to Sreenivas as it is now being cited to defend the embattled Subhash Kapoor. Before the court declared Sreenivas to be a sexual predator, Chadha gave her verdict and proclaimed that the allegations of sexual misconduct against in his footnote would serve as a lesson for others.
In yet another tweet, Chadha sermonised those who had dared to question the veracity of claims made by the victims of MeToo movement. During the peak of the movement, many had alleged that one should not indulge in slandering others and instead legal recourse to right the wrong meted out on them. However, Chadha issued a warning to such individuals, stating that they would end up on the wrong side of the history for questioning others’ #MeToo experience.
“These stories are word of caution so others aren’t abused and culprits are outed,” Chadha had said in the tweet.
Men,if you’ve had a good run/life/career, don’t ruin it by questioning another person’s #MeToo experience. You’ll end up on the wrong side of history. No girl wants such “publicity”. These stories are a word of caution so others aren’t abused and culprits are outed!— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) October 11, 2018
However, Chadha’s latest views on allegations of MeToo against the director of her upcoming movie doesn’t jibe with her two-year-old opinions. Chadha was unapologetically indulging in social media trial when the MeToo movement took the country by storm, slamming the accused and those who questioned the authenticity of the accounts rendered by victims. But, now that questions are being raised on the allegations of sexual misconduct against the director of her movie, she is mouthing off the hoary refrain of waiting for the courts to decide on the matter and not subject Kapoor to social media trial.
Perhaps, it is the familiar Bollywood trait of convenience that is at play, which has compelled her to distance herself from the MeToo movement and defend Kapoor. It is all too convenient and advantageous for Chadha to speak in support of the director now since she has been associated with his movie and risking the director’s ire might harm her future prospects.