AIB co-founder Tanmay Bhat ‘steps away’, Gursimran Khamba sent on leave after #MeToo allegations
Khamba was accused of sexual misconduct, while Bhat failed to act on a complaint against writer Utsav Chakraborty.
Comedy collective All India Bakchod on Monday said co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Tanmay Bhat will be “stepping away” from the group for not acting on a complaint of sexual harassment against writer Utsav Chakraborty. Another co-founder, Gursimran Khamba, will be on temporary leave of absence following allegations of sexual misconduct, the group said.
“We cannot overlook Tanmay’s role and in the light of this, he will be stepping away from his association with AIB until further notice,” said a statement released by the group. “This implies that Tanmay will not be involved with the day to day functioning of AIB or in any other manner.”
On the allegation against Khamba, AIB said: “At this point in time, these allegations pertain to a private matter, and he has released a statement of his own about the same.”
An unidentified woman has accused Khamba of sexual misconduct during an incident in 2015. In a statement, Khamba apologised for the “toxic relationship” but denied “any violation of consent”.
The future of the group, which also includes comedians Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, is uncertain, said Vidhi Jotwani, the human resources head at AIB. “Truthfully, we don’t know what this means for the future of AIB or whether there is one,” Jotwani said in the statement. “In the interim, Ashish Shakya, Rohan Joshi and other senior team members will work towards being able to answer that question over the next several months.”
Hotstar, a streaming platform, announced that it is cancelling the production of On Air with AIB Season 3 with immediate effect. “We are deeply concerned by these developments which run contrary to our values as a responsible platform, and will not stand by anything that compromises the respect or safety of women,” it said in a statement.
Several women have made allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against various journalists, media professionals and writers on social media. Some of the women, including journalists, gave detailed accounts of incidents of alleged sexual harassment and misconduct they faced.