Anurag Kashyap called the allegations against him ‘baseless’
Actor Payal Ghosh raised sexual assault allegations against Gangs of Wasseypur director Anurag Kashyap.
She took to Twitter, tagged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that the director ‘forced himself’ on her, and urged everyone to see the ‘demon behind this creative guy.’
Payal claimed that Anurag confessed to her about female actors such as Richa Chaddha, Mahie Gill and Huma Quereshi who allegedly performed sexual favours for him in exchange of work.
@anuragkashyap72 has forced himself on me and extremely badly. @PMOIndia @narendramodi ji, kindly take action and let the country see the demon behind this creative guy. I am aware that it can harm me and my security is at risk. Pls help! https://t.co/1q6BYsZpyx— Payal Ghosh (@iampayalghosh) September 19, 2020
Huma broke her silence on the matter and wrote: “Anurag and I last worked together in 2012-13 and he is a dear friend and an extremely talented director. In my personal experience and to my knowledge he has neither misbehaved with me or anyone else. However, anyone who claims to be abused must report it to the authorities, the police and the judiciary.”
“I chose not to comment till now because I don’t believe in social media fights and media trials. I feel really angry at being dragged into this mess. I feel angry not just for myself but also every woman whose years of hard work and struggle get reduced to such baseless conjecture and allegations in their workplace. Please let’s refrain from this narrative. It is the joint responsibility of women and men both to carefully protect the sanctity of #MeToo. This is my final response. Please do not approach me to make any more statements on this matter,” she added.
In response to the accusations, Anurag’s lawyer issued a statement, saying: ‘My client, Anurag Kashyap, has been deeply pained by the false allegations of sexual misconduct that have recently surfaced against him. These allegations are completely false, malicious and dishonest. It is sad that a social movement as important as the #metoo movement has been co-opted by vested interests and reduced to a mere tool for character assassination. Fictitious allegations of this nature seriously undermine the movement and seek to unconscionably trade upon the pain and trauma of actual victims of sexual harassment and abuse. My client has been advised about his rights and remedies in law and intends to pursue them to the fullest extent.”
Actor Kangana Ranaut who was feuding with Kashyap in recent past voiced her support for Payal. The director’s ex-wives Aarti Bajaj and Kalki Koechlin however dismissed the allegations.
Kalki wrote, “Dear Anurag, don’t let this social media circus get to you, you have fought for the freedom of women in your scripts, you’ve defended their integrity in your professional space as well as in your personal life. I have been witness to it, in the personal and professional space you have always seen me as your equal, you have stood up for my integrity even after our divorce, and you have supported me when I felt unsafe in a work environment even before we got together.”
Anurag’s former assistant Jaydeep Sarkar also defended him. He wrote, “This is the right time to recount this story. I was an assistant with @anuragkashyap72 in 2004. I was looking into secondary casting for ‘Gulaal’ and was meeting many actors. A young actress, who really wanted a part in the film, insisted she wanted to meet Anurag. She waited a while and then Anurag got done with a narration and agreed to meet her. The young actress probably assumed the only way to get the role was through the ‘casting couch’. She tried suggesting a few ‘favours’ verbally.”
He continued, “But when Anurag politely ignored it, she gently let her sari pallu drop. A few times. At this point, Anurag got up and requested her to not do this. He told her she would get the part if she was the right fit and nothing else would work. Saying this, he walked out of the room, disappointed. I was shocked by what I saw, but I had seen a hero get out of a situation, with respect and empathy for her. Later he told me he was disappointed that so many young women feel this is the only way they can make it,” he said.
Anurag personally responded to the allegations, calling them ‘baseless.’