INDIA: Bigg Boss, the enormously popular Indian version of Big Brother, has been embroiled in a nasty argument ever since it aired on Colors TV on Saturday.
The inclusion of Sajid Khan, a director, as a contestant in the 16th season of the Salman Khan-hosted reality TV series has drawn criticism.
Since 2018, Sajid Khan has been accused of sexual misconduct by eight female coworkers and a journalist. He had refuted the allegations, and no police report was filed against him.
However, hundreds of individuals, many of them women, have taken to social media to vent their “disgust” and “rage” over his participation ever since the show unveiled the names of the housemates.
Sona Mohapatra, an Indian singer, called Indian TV networks “depraved and a sad bunch” for airing individuals who had been accused of sexual harassment.
Journalist Barkha Dutt tweeted that Sajid Khan’s inclusion demonstrated “total contempt for what so many women feel,” and MeTooIndia, an unofficial account started by a journalist following the 2018 movement to amp up the voices of Indian survivors, questioned why the organisers were mute.
The official Twitter account for #MeToo India recently criticised the creators for keeping silent at all times. “Complete silence from @ColorsTV and @BiggBoss on the #SajidKhan allegations so far,” they wrote.
Sahil Shah, a comedian, tweeted, “We pray Sajid Khan never works again because he sexually assaulted his colleagues. Big Boss: Let’s invite him to appear on our show. F*** it.”
ColorsTV and the show’s official Twitter account have sent out several hundred promotional tweets since Saturday, but they have not yet addressed the criticism.
The protest is also in response to Bigg Boss’s popularity, which has amassed tens of billions of hours of viewing time and is thought to be India’s most watched reality program. Since 2020, when it became a part of the Voot digital streaming service in India, its popularity has increased significantly.
As a result, there have been increasing requests to have Sajid Khan removed from the program; a petition to have him kicked out of the Bigg Boss house has already garnered more than 5,000 signatures.
After the MeToo movement gained traction in the US, many women in India took to Twitter to denounce comedians, journalists, authors, actors, and filmmakers. These accusations against Khan surfaced in 2018.
Sajid Khan, a successful filmmaker who had collaborated with some of Bollywood’s top stars, was one of those individuals mentioned by a female journalist and the majority of aspiring actresses.
He rejected the charges, but the Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association suspended him for a year.
In 2018, after learning that he would no longer serve as director of his movie, Housefull 4, Sajid Khan tweeted: “In the wake of the allegations against me and the pressure being put on my family, my producer, and the stars of my film Housefull 4, I must take the moral responsibility of stepping down from my directorial post, till the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth… “I request my friends in the media to kindly not pass judgement till the truth is out.”
“People are believed to be destroyed by failure. However, in my situation, I was shattered by my success,” he explained.
He claimed that his fall from grace was God’s way of telling him that he had to change for the better.
The fury over the charges against him has meant that many people are still unwilling to give him a second chance, so his return to the spotlight certainly hasn’t gone as planned.
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