Writer accuses comic Utsav Chakraborty of sexual harassment, sparks #MeToo movement
Months after ‘The Viral Fever’ founder Arunabh Kumar was booked for sexual harassment, the thriving Indian comedy scene is on the precipice of its own #MeToo movement. The perpetrator – Comedian and former AIB writer Utsav Chakraborty.
The comic garnered fame for appearing and writing several All India Bakchod features like AIB Honest Series (2013), Better Life Foundation (2016) and AIB: Honest Engineering Campus Placements (2017) among others. He has worked with several noted media houses prior to his stint with AIB.
Earlier today, the comic took to Twitter to comment on an article about men from an Indian tobacco company running wild on an international cruise.
“Oh to be Indian and not die a thousand deaths from second-hand embarrassment every day,” Utsav wrote.
The indiscretion, however, cost him dearly after a fellow comic/writer replied to him to highlight the irony of the situation.
“Saw this on my timeline. Interesting for you to comment on how Indian men harass women,” wrote (name withheld).
What started with a cryptic tweet, snowballed into a major expose in no time. In minutes, the writer shared several tweets from women who were harassed by Utsav, whose apparent go-to strategy involved asking for ‘nudes’.
Some of the sexually explicit messages were allegedly sent to underage girls.
The whistle-blower also shared her personal experience, while citing the lack of lack of support from those who were in a position to do something about it.
“I want everyone to know @Wootsaw (Utsav) is a piece of shit. He sent me a dick pic, was creepy, then cried saying I’ll ruin his career if I tell others. I told two of the most influential men in comedy in India. Nothing happened. Let me tell you what else he has done with others,” she tweeted.
She later tagged two known names from the comedy scene, both of whom were quick to lend support and were vocal in their criticism.
“What’s up with this Utsav? Your behaviour has been consistently misogynist for a while and you keep pretending to be woke like your boyfriends at AIB who keep you employed as well. Women don’t feel safe around you. What are you doing about this?” asked Aditi Mittal.
The series of tweets also elicited a response from noted comic, Varun Grover.
“It’s a serious failure of the entire comedy community if things have come to this stage. We had a new industry that could have been easily taught the meaning of equality & respect. We blew that chance. Ashamed,” he tweeted.
In one of the latest tweets, the writer stated that Utsav had tried to reach out to her on WhatsApp. “Utsav has no shame and had the gall to actually WhatsApp me right now,” she wrote.
Worryingly, apart from the direct allegations levied against Utsav, the series of tweets and responses also highlight glaring issues about similar behaviour by other male comics, their predisposition towards looking out for each other and the hypocrisy of supporting women’s causes while being an active contributor to the problem.
Utsav, meanwhile, is yet to publicly acknowledge or respond to the allegations. Since attempts at reaching him have been in vain, his response will be appended to the article separately.
Incidentally, Mumbai police have also taken cognisance of the complaints. However, no official complaint has been filed till now.
With more and more victims coming forward, even as the article was in the process of being published, the post will be updated with key developments as they take place.
UPDATE: Official response from Utsav on the sexual harassment allegations:
Statement 1/n pic.twitter.com/sIouz4UsaR
— Utsav (@Wootsaw) October 4, 2018
The incident comes months after The Viral Fever CEO Arunabh Kumar was accused of sexual harassment by several women, sending shockwaves throughout the community.
Kumar was booked in two cases of sexual harassment by the Mumbai Police earlier this year and stepped down from his post as the CEO in June citing “personal attacks”.