Thursday, 13 December 2018

After Apology, Chetan Bhagat’s Second Take On #MeToo: I’m Not A Harasser

The #MeToo movement, Chetan Bhagat said, was “already getting corrupted” and genuine survivors would suffer if people didn’t take it seriously.

NEW DELHI,  Oct 10, 2018: Days after a public apology in response to an unnamed woman accusing him of sexual harassment on social media, author Chetan Bhagat has pushed back with a long post asserting – “I am not a harasser, never was, never will be”. Alleging that the #MeToo movement unfolding in India is being “corrupted”, he said: “I would like to officially put a stop to this nonsense targeting me.”

Chetan Bhagat was named over the weekend on a Twitter thread on which women started sharing #MeToo stories – nearly a year after the hashtag sprouted from allegations of sex assault and harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

A woman shared screenshots of a WhatsApp chat with Chetan Bhagat, in which the author had written that he was trying to “woo” her. The woman had pointed out that he was married. In a Facebook message, the best-selling author had admitted to having the conversation and had apologized to the woman as well as his wife Anusha Bhagat. He said he may have “misread” the friendliness and “was going through a phase.”

Today, he put out another Facebook post addressed to his fans and readers, saying that “in the garb of the #MeToo movement, which definitely has genuine cases, I am being attacked and vilified.”

The movement, he said, was “already getting corrupted” and genuine survivors would suffer if people didn’t take it seriously.

He said his WhatsApp chat had been with an “Erotica Writer” who met him during a shoot and sent him explicit lines as samples from a story, urging him to co-author a book.

“We had a chat, an amiable chat. I was not interested in her in any other way other than as a research subject.”

He alleged that his name was added to a growing list of people accused of “most heinous crimes” for what he called a “flirtatious conversation” with a girl who was conversing back.

“It was not easy for my family – bearing up stoically and supporting me unconditionally -to answer inane queries from all and sundry. Please bear in mind that baseless allegations like these affect my wife, my 70-year-old mother, my elderly in-laws and my teenage twin sons. Each of them suffer in their own way,” Mr. Bhagat said.

“I am no harasser, and I need to work on issues in my personal life that are not anybody’s business. From now on, Ms. Erotica-Writer or anybody else, I would not be responding to any such posts. The courts of the country are available to you; please go there if you have a case (PS: you don’t)…I am also going to stop feeling ashamed, and am going to start talking about my new book,” he added.

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