The #MeToo campaign which is rippling across the Indian society, has finally knocked at the doors of Mollywood with Malayalam actor-turned-politician Mukesh Kumar becoming the latest film personality to be accused of sexual harassment.
A Mumbai-based casting director has claimed that she was sexually harassed by the actor while directing a quiz show 19 years back.
Tess Joseph took to Twitter to allege that when she was directing the Malayalam TV programme ‘Koteeswaran’ (Malayalam version of Kaun Benega Crorepati), Mukesh Kumar, the host of the show, called her multiple times and even got her room changed next to his in the hotel they were staying in.
She said she then spoke with her then boss Derek O’Brien (now TMC MP) who arranged a flight ticket for her to return to Mumbai.
“I was 20 years old quiz directing #koteeswaran when the mallu host #mukeshkumar called my room multiple times and then changed my room to beside his on the next sch. My then boss @derekobrienmp spoke to me for an hour & got me out on the next flight. 19 yrs on thank you Derek (sic.),” Joseph tweeted.
She further said she was the only woman in a crew of men. She also slammed the Le Meridien Hotel for acting as enablers and nonchalantly changing her room next to the actor’s.
“I was the only woman in a crew of men. One night when the calls where never ending I stayed in my colleague room. And @LeMeridien chennai you are the worst for being enablers when I asked you why my room floor was different so nonchalantly I was told Mr Kumar asked for it, (sic.)” she said.
According to reports, Mukesh denied the charges when questioned. He said he cannot recollect such an incident and that anybody could write anything.
Women from all walks of life have started to come forward, naming and shaming the predatory behaviour of men.
Earlier on Monday, veteran writer-producer Vinta Nanda accused actor Alok Nath – known for his “sanskaari” image on screen – of raping her almost two decades ago.
A woman journalist has accused actor-director Rajat Kapoor of “lewd” and unprofessional behaviour.
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut, who played the lead role in Vikas Bahl’s Queen, has accused the director of sexual harassment on the sets.
Last week, Utsav Chakraborty was accused of sending sexually explicit messages to women, including minor girls, in a Twitter thread by a writer-comedian.
Last month, Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of harassing her on the sets of their 2008 film “Horn Ok Pleassss”. She said she had raised her voice then too, but that was suppressed by people in powerful positions.