Supporting the women who have come out and shared their accounts of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by director Sajid Khan, actor Akshay Kumar on Friday took to Twitter to say that he has asked the producers of his upcoming movie Housefull 4 to cancel shooting till the allegations against the director are investigated.
Housefull 4 is scheduled to be directed by Sajid Khan and will feature Akshay Kumar in a lead role. Actor Nana Patekar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by Tanushree Dutta, is also in the movie.
“I’ve just landed back in the country last night and reading all the news has been very disturbing. I’ve requested the producers of Housefull 4 to cancel the shoot until further investigation. This is something that requires stringent action. I will not work with any proven offenders and all those who have been subjugated to harassment should be heard and given the justice they deserve (sic),” the actor tweeted.
Three women – a journalist, and two actors – have accused Sajid Khan of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, detailing their accounts on social media. In a tweet, the journalist accused Sajid Khan of exposing his genitalia to her.
Actor Saloni Chopra recounted that he would only talk of his genitalia when she worked as an assistant director with him. “He’d talk about his dick and how big it apparently is and his sexual needs. He would ask me to touch his dick and get irritated with me when I said I didn’t want to,” she wrote in a blog post.
The second actor, Rachel White, shared that Sajid Khan called her into his bedroom, stared at her breasts and then allegedly told her that the role in a film would be hers if she could seduce him in five minutes.
Actor and author Twinkle Khanna, Akshay’s wife, also called for the makers of Housefull 4 to take a firm stance on the issue.
“Appalled hearing multiple incidents of harassment and it is truly horrific to hear what these women have been through. Everyone involved in Housefull needs to take a firm stance on this issue. This cannot go on,” Twinkle Khanna tweeted.
Appalled hearing multiple incidents of harassment and it is truly horrific to hear what these women have been through. Everyone involved in Housefull needs to take a firm stance on this issue. This cannot go on.— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) October 12, 2018
Last year, Akshay Kumar had come under fire for a ‘joke’ he made about comedian Mallika Dua on the sets of the TV show ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’.
According to reports, the format of the show required mentors and judges to ring a bell when impressed by a contestant’s performance. In a leaked video, when Mallika Dua reaches to ring the bell, Akshay is heard saying, “Mallika ji aap bell bajao, main aapko bajata hoon.” The Hindi word ‘bajaana’ has sexual connotations.
Mallika as well as her father, journalist Vinod Dua, had lashed out at the actor for his inappropriate comment. Akshay’s comment was edited out from the telecast, and Mallika, Zakir Khan and Hussain Dalal were replaced on the show since. Mallika had to face trolling and vile abuse on social media for speaking out against the actor.
Shortly after Akshay Kumar’s statement, Sajid Khan tweeted that he will be stepping down as the director of Housefull 4 ‘till the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth’.