In 2018, the #MeToo wave took over India as many women came forward to share their encounters of sexual misconduct. Utsav Chakraborty a writer and an actor, who is better known for working with comedy collective All India Bakchod, was accused by a co-worker for sending sexually explicit messages to her and several other women. Several noted comedians, including Aditi Mittal and Varun Grover also called out Utsav after the allegations.
Shameful, creepy, ugly behavior by a fellow comic (Utsav/@Wootsaw). More stories coming out, all because @AGirlOfHerWords decided to speak out. Indian Comedy, like every other industry, needs a #TimesUp. https://t.co/WpVGdQlvkZ— वरुण (@varungrover) October 4, 2018
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?— aditi mittal (@awryaditi) October 4, 2018
Now a year later, a leaked audio clip has surfaced online purportedly between the accuser’s lawyer and the comedian. The clip has been titled as ‘EXPOSE ______’, and claims to be the conversation between Utsav and the lawyer on 14th November 2018.
To summarize the conversation, the clip goes back and forth where the woman mentions screenshots, that Utsav has been assumed of circulating that prove his innocence. The comedian goes on to add how the accuser’s act has cost him his professional and personal life. Things escalate to a point wherein the woman demands an apology from Utsav, and states that there will be dire consequences if he releases any such material that hampers the woman’s image.
The clip has gone viral on Twitter, and many are calling out the accuser for initiating the conversation and maligning Utsav’s image.
Comedian Abhijit Ganguly wrote, "Send your nudes out. Ask for a response. When the person sends something disgusting then release to the world destroying his life. If this is not CIA level honey trapping, what is? I feel guilty of not having even tried to hear this man's defence once."
Another comedian Agrima Joshua said, “For over a year, we've shown solidarity with Utsav's accusers because the primary testimony against him was so powerful and convincing. It breaks my heart right now to learn that there might be more to the story.”
Saurav Ghosh added, “Utsav just got in touch with me. I like others in the community had abandoned him believing whatever________ had to say but wtf is this? Why is her lawyer threatening him to hide his side? Let's not be quiet on this and have a spine here.”
In 2018, AIB had issued a statement saying that they are taking out all the videos which Chakraborty was a part of, “the accusations described a pattern of behaviour that is unacceptable, and we at AIB condemn Utsav’s alleged behaviour,” the statement read.
Following these allegations, the Mumbai police took note of the posts, and tweeted: “We will look into this on priority”, while AIB delisted every video featuring Chakraborty on its channels.
In his defence, Chakraborty had tweeted that the “whole thing needs a lot of patience, and an incredible amount of context”. Later, he posted a series of tweets giving his side of the story as there was “more to what is being said” and apologised for his “scary truth”.
“I’ve never asked an underage person for nudes. If it can be proved in any way, I’m ready to take due course of the law. As for ‘sending’ unsolicited pictures of my genitals, I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I would only send if that person asked for the said picture. And even then I would make sure that said person has sent me something of equal parity first,” he added, admitting that he has indulged in ‘sexting’.
He said Snapchat was the “worst thing to happen to me” at a stage when he was dealing with an attention deficit mind. “Some nice people did send me nudes there and I started assuming that everyone was that forthcoming and open to sexting. That was the worst thought that I could have had. But I did. “And as for asking for nudes from underaged people, I cannot and will not ever do that. The person in question can pull up screenshots and I would be proved forthright. But again, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t an entitled piece of sh*t who asked out everyone in his know,” Chakraborty added.
In his head, Chakraborty said, it was just “plain sexting”. “Because I had made up this egalitarian society where women constantly don’t get harassed every waking moment of the day. And I would look at myself and say but I’m so woke. I’m not like those guys.
“To me, getting nudes from a person was an instant rush. I was not in pain for that brief moment. Someone trusted me with that information. I would feel honoured and not ugly. But this caught me into a weird spiral. Where I would ask anyone, who was nice to me in the slightest.
“But again, that’s what every supervillain says to justify their villainry. That oh, look at my tragic back story. Look at my many problems. I’m fully aware I’m doing that right now. But I have to explain my irresponsible behaviour somehow. At least to my self.” He said his biggest concern till day is to figure out how to pay for his “weekly injections” for medical issues that he says he has to “deal with for life”. “And those are expensive issues. But to use my illness as a crutch is stupid. But it’s not like it’s not relevant to this whole debacle.”
“It’s a little too late now but I am sorry. I really am,” he added.
Free Press Journal has got in touch with Utsav Chakraborty and the accuser. The story will be updated to reflect their comments if they respond.