Anu Malik will no longer be shooting the episodes for the show from Monday
Music composer Anu Malik, accused in multiple #MeToo accounts, is no longer a part of singing reality show Indian Idol 10, read a statement from Sony Entertainment Television (on which the show airs), reports news agency ANI. Anu Malik has been one of the judges on Indian Idol since the show first aired in 2004. He co-judged Indian Idol 10 with Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar. "Anu Malik is no longer a part of Indian Idol jury panel. The show will continue its planned schedule and we'll invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal and Neha to judge extraordinary talent of Indian Idol Season 10, read the full statement.
Singer Sona Mohapatra and later, Shweta Pandit accused the 57-year-old music composer of sexual harassment. Two aspiring singers also levelled similar allegations against him recently.
Last week, Shweta Pandit, in a Twitter post, recounted her #MeToo story in an incident which dates back to 2000. She alleged that once in a cabin at a studio, Anu Malik told her he would give her a song with Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan "but first give me a kiss now". She also called him a "pedophile" and "sexual predator."
Sona Mohapatra has named Anu Malik and Kailash Kher in her #MeToo accounts.
However, Anu Malik has denied the allegations that he sexually harassed Shweta Pandit. Lyricist Sameer Anjaan also defended him and tweeted that no such incident took place. In a lengthy social media post, he wrote that Anu Malik asked Shweta to sing but she requested him if she could give the voice test from a separate room.
"The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless. My client respects the #MeToo Movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious," Anu Malik's lawyer Zulfiquar Memon was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
Meanwhile, Danica D'Souza, based out of New York, has told mid-day that she knew of at least two women who had similar experiences with Anu Malik when she was assistant producer with FreemantleMedia India on Indian Idol 5.
"This incident occurred in Kolkata. One of our colleagues from the production crew was travelling with a cameraman and Malik in a car to get sound bites. When she returned, she looked traumatised and told us of the unfortunate incident. She said once they had wrapped up their work, Malik touched her thigh in the car, and felt her up. She was startled. The cameraman, who was sitting in the front seat, wasn't aware of what was going on behind him," Ms D'Souza told mid-day.
She also alleged Anu Malik would refer to her as "darling, baby and sweety, which made her uncomfortable." "They are well aware of his behaviour with women. I don't know why they are still quiet," she told mid-day, adding that she hopes the channel and production house take a stand against Anu Malik.
Several #MeToo stories have emerged, many of them on social media. Actors Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor and filmmaker Vikas Bahl have also been outed as alleged predators.