In one of the most shocking names to have come out in the ongoing Me Too movement in the Indian media circuit, comedian Kaneez Surka on Wednesday accused Aditi Mittal of sexually assaulting her on stage at an event.
At an open mic Kaneez was hosting in Mumbai two years ago, she said, “Aditi Mittal walked up on stage and forcefully kissed me on my mouth out of the blue and put her tongue in my mouth, while I was still on stage and without my consent. It left me humiliated, shocked, and completely stripped of choice.”
Kaneez added that when she finally mustered the courage to reach out to Aditi about a year ago, Aditi first apologised but then allegedly turned hostile.
“Seeing her name all over Twitter as a champion of the cause has been triggering me immensely. Out of my belief that the opportunity for reform is the only way forward, yesterday, once again, I spoke to her through a mutual friend and requested her to come out with a public apology and save me the pain of having to reveal my identity,” Kaneez said.
However, Aditi allegedly denied kissing Kaneez on the mouth altogether, gaslighted her and asked her to cross check. “Her actions yesterday have hurt me further and burdened me with the task of having to do this but I don’t want to be silent anymore,” Kaneez said.
She demanded a public apology from Aditi but maintained that this was not for men to further their agendas, but for Kaneez to have closure.
Aditi not only retweeted Kaneez’ story but also issued a public apology. Explaining the version of events according to her, Aditi said that she gave Kaneez “a peck on the lips (there was no tongue) as a joke and as a part of the act”. Denying that her intent was sexual in nature, Aditi added that she realised she had violated Kaneez’ space after speaking to her and that this bothers her even now. “For this I am unconditionally sorry,” Aditi said.
Corroborating that she and Kaneez spoke of the matter in 2017, Aditi said she issued an unconditional apology which Kaneez allegedly accepted. “We discussed the rampant sexism in AIB which she was just discovering and promised to have each other’s back in a boys club,” Aditi wrote.
Addressing the accusation of her hostility towards Kaneez, Aditi said, “I began to consciously avoid any place that she or anyone from those social circles might be, out of respect for her space. It was done as a cautionary measure.”
Confirming that Kaneez had gotten in touch with her about the incident again, Aditi said that Kaneez told her she would get closure if Aditi apologised publicly. Kaneez apparently gave Aditi two days to respond.
“Kaneez, I am sorry,” Aditi said, ending her statement.