Bollywood composer and singer Anu Malik has been removed from the television reality show Indian Idol as its judge. This comes after multiple sexual harassment allegations against him as part of the ‘Me Too’ movement in India.
According to ANI, Sony Entertainment Television, which airs the reality show, said, “Anu Malik is no longer a part of Indian Idol jury panel. The show will continue its planned schedule and we will invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal (Dadlani) and Neha (Kakkar) to judge extraordinary talents of Indian Idol Season 10.”
Anu Malik has been on the jury panel since the beginning of the show in 2014. Singer and composer Sona Mohapatra was the first survivor to speak out against Anu Malik, whom she called a serial offender. She also alleged that the composer would call her at odd hours.
Taking courage from the post, a week ago, singer Shweta Pandit, too, came out and accused the composer of sexually harassing her when she was 15 years old. Recounting her encounter with him on Twitter, Shweta called Anu Malik a paedophile.
In a post, she wrote that the composer, whom she used to call “Anu Uncle” promised her a song with Sunidhi and Shaan, but asked her for a kiss. She also said the episode had left her depressed for months.
Later, on Saturday, two more women called out Anu Malik. One unnamed woman said he rubbed his body against her at Mehboob Studios in 1990, although he apologised later. When she met him on another occasion, he allegedly made sexual advances towards her. Recounting her experience to Mid-Day, she said the composer unzipped his pants and asked her to ‘lick’ him. “I told him no and urged him to let me go, but he pulled me by my hair and stuffed my face in his lap, hurling abuses as he did so,” she said.
The second woman, an aspiring singer, said she refused to participate in the season 10 of Indian Idol as a wild card entry as he had harassed her seven years ago. Once, at a meeting in Sahara Studios, Gurugram, he asked the survivor to wear a “chiffon sari” the next time she met him. Realising it was time to leave, she got up, “but he grabbed me and hugged me, all the while running his hands over my body,” she told Mid-Day.
Anu Malik brushed the allegations off as lies. His lawyer on Thursday issued a statement, stating Shweta’s allegations were false and baseless. He even went on to say that he has never worked with Sona.