Stand-up comedienne Kaneez Surka on Wednesday accused popular comic Aditi Mittal of forcefully kissing her and putting her tongue in her mouth while she was hosting a show in 2016.
Surka took to Twitter and wrote a long post saying Mittal, who has been backing women’s voices in the wake of the #MeToo movement, forcefully kissed her without her consent during a show in Mumbai’s Andheri Base.
“I need to tell my story as it happened to me. Two years ago, at a comedy show I was hosting at Andheri Base, in the presence of an audience of 100 and many comedians, Aditi Mittal walked up on stage and forcefully kissed me on my mouth out of the blue and put her tongue in my mouth, while I was still on stage and without my consent,” she wrote.
“Every person is entitled to choice and boundaries and she violated mine. While I mustered the courage to reach out to her a year ago, she first apologised but soon turned hostile towards me, leaving me confused and hurt,” she added.
— Kaneez Surka (@kaneezsurka) October 10, 2018
The comedienne further said Aditi’s “name all over Twitter as a champion of the cause” left her hurt and baffled “immensely”.
Following the allegation, Aditi Mittal issued an unconditional apology to Surka for violating her space but said her “intentions were not sexual in nature”.
Mittal said she gave the improv artiste, who was hosting an open mic, a peck on the lips “as a joke as a part of the act” but “there was no tongue”.
She claimed that she had apologised later to Surka when she realised the discomfort she had caused.
“The intentions were not sexual in nature. I realised that after talking to Kaneez that it was a violation of her space and to this day bothers her very much. For this I am unconditionally sorry,” Mittal wrote on Twitter.
She said she and Surka talked about the matter at length in 2017 and her contemporary accepted her unconditional apology.
“We discussed the rampant sexism in AIB which she was just discovering and promised to have each other’s backs in a boys club,” Mittal said of the comedy collective of which Surka is an active part.
Addressing Surka’s claims that she had turned “hostile” towards her, Mittal said she began to consciously avoid any place that she or anyone from those social circles might be, “out of respect for her space”.
Mittal said Surka gave her a two-day ultimatum to speak up and when she did not, the latter went ahead with her account on social media. She apologised once again.
In the #MeToo movement which is surging ahead, Mittal is the first woman to have been named for sexual harassment.
The campaign first hit the comedy industry last week when Utsav Chakraborty was accused by multiple women for harassment with AIB co-founder Gursimran Khamba been directly accused of misconduct.
AIB’s Tanmay Bhat has stepped away from the comedy collective and Khamba has been sent on “temporary leave of absence”.
(With agency inputs)