HT’s Prashant Jha steps down as MeToo gains momentum

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The MeToo movement is gaining momentum in India as well as Prashant Jha of the Hindustan Times stepped down as Political Editor and bureau chief after a former colleague accused him of harassing her.

Jha, in his letter to his editor said: “There have been specific allegations against me – and my personal conduct – recently, which have raised moral questions about my conduct. In this backdrop, I believe it would be best for me to step down…”

According to reports, Jha’s name surfaced in an account posted as part of a Twitter thread that started last week and encouraged many women to name and shame people who had allegedly sexually harassed them, either recently or years ago.

It may be noted that the campaign began days after former actor Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of harassing her on the sets of a film 10 years ago. Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, have also been named since.

Many journalists have been listed in the hall of shame since Friday.

Journalist Sandhya Menon alleged harassment in 2005 and 2008 by an editor of the Times of India; the newspaper said the charge would be investigated by its committee against sexual harassment. “A highly empowered and accessible committee under this policy and under the law is in place to investigate and address all allegations of sexual harassment,” said the media house in a statement, adding that the group was headed by a senior woman executive.

This campaign has also jolted the famous AIB. With the name of Comic Utsav Chakraborty coming to light, Tanmay Bhat has quit AIB, the comedy group he co-founded, in the tide of MeToo allegations against Indian celebrities on social media.

Tanmay Bhat will “step away from his association with AIB”, the group said in a statement today. Tanmay Bhat is facing accusations that he did not act on complaints against Utsav Chakraborty, a YouTuber and ex-AIB member who was called out on social media last week. Gursimran Khamba, another founder-member facing allegations of sex harassment on social media, will also go on leave, said the group.

Author Chetan Bhagat and actor Rajat Kapoor have also been called out with them apologising later.

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