Singer Sona Mohapatra has been one of the torchbearers of the #MeToo movement in India ever since its onset. She has also been critical of singer-composer Anu Malik’s reinstation as a judge on music reality show Indian Idol despite a string of #MeToo accusations against him. But she has breathed a slight sigh of relief after he stepped down from the show. While he says he’ll be back after clearing his name, Sona comments: “He’s free to do whatever he wants. What is expected of him is to come clean about decades of predatory behaviour.”

Read: Anu Malik says he hasn’t quit Indian Idol: ‘I have taken a 3-week break, will be back after clearing my name’

What is your reaction to Anu Malik stepping down from Indian Idol?

This is not a minor victory but a symbolic larger win for all the women and children who have suffered sexual harassment. It is also a momentous win for the power of public outcry and democracy. Anu Malik is a multiple accused offender and Sony TV as well as his colleagues on the show are also culpable in platforming him and enabling him. This disease had to be stopped from spreading. The most dangerous message was being put out, that of encouraging other such perverts and normalising sexual abuse in society. The #MoveOutMalik campaign win sends a message of hope and positivity to not only all the victims, survivors and their families who fear being shamed but also gives many courage to stand up to such in their own lives.

A lot of other celebrities have come out about their experiences with Anu Malik.

That my fellow artists Neha Bhasin, Shweta Pandit, Caralisa Monteiro and Alisha Chinai also showed solidarity and spoke up really strengthened the campaign. Abhay Deol and Tanushree Dutta’s support gave a shot of energy to it. My letter to the Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani was the final nail that moved the National Commission for Women to send a notice to Sony Entertainment president Rohit Gupta last evening & finally Malik Moved Out.

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DARVO! Posted @withrepost • Casting himself as a victim, Anu Malik responded to the Me Too allegations with an open letter. However, Sona Mohapatra took him apart in a crisp and hard-hitting reply Recently, singer Sona Mohapatra wrote a heartfelt letter questioning Sony Entertainment Television for reinstating Anu Malik as a judge on their show Indian Idol, even though multiple women have accused him of sexual harassment. Following this, last week, news broke that Anu Malik may not be brought back as a judge after all. Instead of apologising however, Anu Malik chose to write an open letter himself. Denying the accusations against him, he attacked the women who have accused him, asking why they are bringing up these allegations now. He also painted himself as a victim, who is in danger of losing his only source of livelihood, while painting the women as the offenders who have caused harm to the mental health of his family and himself. Anyone who has survived abuse, or anyone aware enough, can tell you that this is the classic, gaslighting DARVO defence, which most abusers use when confronted. Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. This is not the first time that abusers have pretended to be the victim either. An obvious and memorable example is the high-profile case of Brett Kavanaugh versus Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh actually sobbed through the proceedings, while claiming that his life and career had been destroyed by the allegations against him. Abusers use DARVO, because unfortunately, it works. Sona Mohapatra’s takedown of Anu Malik’s self-serving letter is an absolute masterclass on how to handle gaslighting. Three cheers to her! Read the full post, tap on the link in bio @sonamohapatra #anumalik #metoo #metooindia #metoomovement #timesup #sexualharassment #gaslighting #harassment #DARVO

A post shared by ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) on Nov 18, 2019 at 6:52pm PST

Do you see this as a step forward for the MeToo movement?

Absolutely. No movement changes society overnight. Positive change happens over time with such movements fuelling awareness, conversations and debates. We are all hoping for a change in attitudes and behaviour at the grassroots and deeper down in our conditioning that normalises abuse both within families  and in the outside world. We are taught to navigate and ignore and bury such instances because more often than not the victim is shamed. Thanks to the movement last year, most film and web series  production houses now have set up Internal Committees with guidelines on how to handle sexual harassment. The move is towards a fairer, safer and pest-free work place. #MeToo is a powerful tool for empowerement and change and isn’t going to die anytime soon. It’s #TimesUp! This call out and removal of Anu Malik from National TV is testimony to that.

– Anu Malik says “I will be back after clearing my name”. Your comment.

He’s free to do whatever he wants. What is expected of him is to come clean about decades of predatory behaviour. In our opinion, it’s the only way he can absolve himself because the mountain of evidence against is simply impossible to manufacture. But in the case he wants to extend this futile charade, he should know that we’re ready for him. There are too many women whom he has misbehaved with and abused who will come forth with their stories. Many wrote in to me yesterday itself. That apart, I do hope that Sony TV shows the grace to extend a public apology to all the women and their families for hiring and celebrating this man on national TV without due process, enquiry or consideration for multiple testimonies and for triggering so much pain, humiliation and despair. India cared enough to #MoveMalikOut though and I am grateful and full of hope as are many more.

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