Host and Bollywood director Karan Johar finally broke his silence on the Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul controversy.

Feel responsible for what happened to them Karan Johar on Hardik Pandya KL Rahul row
Flix Controversy Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 12:06

The aftermath of the Koffee With Karan episode featuring Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul row has seen the two cricketers come under fire. Hardik had made several problematic comments on the show, which aired earlier this month, ranging from sexism, misogyny to racism. Show host and Bollywood producer-director, Karan Johar who had been silent on the issue so far has finally spoken up and said that he feels responsible for the backlash received by the cricketers.

“I invited them as guests, and so the ramifications and repercussions of the show are my responsibility,” he told ET Now. “I have had so many sleepless nights wondering about how I can undo this damage and who’s going to listen to me. It’s now gone into a zone that is beyond my control.”

Clarifying that he is not defending himself, Karan said that the questions he asked the cricketers were questions that he asks everyone on the show, including women. “I have no control about the answers that come my way,” he said. Karan also justified why he did not see Hardik’s comments as problematic at the time because, his control room, which has 16-17 women, did not object to problematic statements he made after the show.

When asked if he regretted it in hindsight, Karan said that he regretted what has happened to the Hardik and Rahul. The duo have been suspended, were called back from India’s ODI series with Australia and are likely to sit out the upcoming one with New Zealand as well.

Karan also denied he enjoyed the traction the show got after the controversy. “There was also talk of me enjoying the TRP [because of the controversy]. But this is not about the TRP. This is a spinoff of my career, this is not my career, but it’s theirs. I don’t care about the ratings. People don’t understand that an English language show [in India] is never dependent on its ratings. We are nowhere on the radar of ratings,” he argued.

He implied that his talk show is a non-serious one, describing it as “frivolous, borderline ridiculous, candid, irreverent and stop making sense” kind. He also apologised for the things that were said on the episode in question. “I am not justifying the conversation that happened on the show. But that perhaps things were said on the show that crossed boundaries and I apologise because it was my platform.”

The interviewer then asked Karan if the cricketers’ responses were an attempt to outdo the film stars who are usually seated on that couch. But Karan said no, adding that perhaps Hardik’s responses were such because they were on a show that was not about sports. “I always ask people [about] their personal lives, their likes, their dislikes, who they find hot, who they don’t,” Karan said.

He then went on to say that at his core, he is a strong feminist. “I was raised by a strong woman, I have aunts who are very strong women. I believe in the power of women and what they can contribute to society and the world; I would never want to offend them, and that was not my idea. I have asked these same questions to the girls [who have come on the show],” he said.

Karan said that now he would be conscious about shooting any other episode of Koffee With Karan as well. Watch the full interview here.

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