Music composer Anu Malik has quit Indian Idol 11 as a judge, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment. A source at Sony Entertainment Television confirmed to Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), that Malik "is stepping down as a judge from Indian Idol". He had quit the role last year but was later reinstated for the show's new edition.
In a statement to Times of India, Malik said he is taking a three-week-long hiatus from Indian Idol. "I have taken this decision voluntarily. I want to take a three-week break from the show and get back to it only after I have cleared my name. While the channel has been supportive, it's solely my decision to take this break. All I want to say is that before jumping to a conclusion, it's important to hear the other side as well." Malik has however not yet responded to questions posed by Firstpost.
Malik further added that he has written to Music Composers Association of India (MCAI) regarding the issue.
Recently, singer Sona Mohapatra called out the composer and Sony,for hiring him back as a judge. Other singers such as Shweta Pandit and Neha Bhasin have backed Mohapatra's claims, stating that Malik made them uncomfortable as well. Mohapatra has been urging fellow judge and composer Vishal Dadlani to support their cause and speak up against Malik.
On 21 November, she addressed an open letter to the Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, where she pointed out that shielding sexual predators sent out "a very dangerous message to the country & the perverts that lurk within our society (sic)."
Here is Mohapatra's tweet to Irani
My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development.👇🏾. @smritiirani ,I hugely admire you, your tenacity & commitment to work for the welfare of people in India & I request you to please read this.Many more women are writing in to me privately about this man🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/Z8bU8RG528
" ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) November 21, 2019
Her tweet was acknowledged by the National Commission of Women, who sent a notice to Rohit Gupta, the president of Sony TV.
Here is the tweet
" NCW (@NCWIndia) November 21, 2019
IANS writes that over the past few days, Mohapatra's campaign against Malik has garnered huge support online, with people demanding that Malik be ousted from the show.
On 15 November, Malik took to social media and shared a detailed note, claiming that he is innocent. He said the accusations "tarnished his career" and left his family considerably disturbed. Malik also wrote that he would take legal actions if the complaints continued.
Speaking to Firstpost, Mohapatra said, "Ever since Sony TV had decided to reinstate a multiple accused sexual offender as judge on TV, not just me but many good people of India have been shocked, victims, survivors and their families have relived their trauma and humiliation, it has been a very tough period for all. The dangerous message that was being put out was that the safety and dignity of women and children do not matter to Sony TV. Also, it was telling other perverts in society that they too can get away with such behaviour and in fact be rewarded.
"If the news is true, then it is truly the victory of good over evil, the legend of Maheshasura Mardini, Durga vanquishing the demon lives on in India. When I speak of the legend and mythology, it's more from a symbolic, cultural and in fact, artistic point of view... Multiple women have spoken up about Anu Malik in the public domain, and it is sad and appalling that Sony took us all for granted and for so long. I believe this victory is for all of us to celebrate. The second wave of #MeToo is here and it's #TimesUp .
"I believe that my letter to the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Smriti Irani was the final nail. She is someone whom I admire for her tenacity, commitment to peoples welfare and I do believe that she must have played a role in this decision of Sony. I thank her and all the other women and men and media who supported the campaign of #MoveOutMalik. We all benefit from a pest-free world to live in, both men and women. I hope Sony TV shows the grace of issuing a public apology for hiring a person without any due process or enquiry into the allegations against him (sic)."
"I'm running a high viral fever and not in my best frame of mind," she added.