One of the biggest names to have been exposed in the ongoing #Metoo movement in India has been that of author Chetan Bhagat. After one woman spoke about the messages he sent her trying “woo” her, author Ira Trivedi opened up and detailed the alleged misbehaviour on Chetan Bhagat’s part. In the last two days the 2 States author has been busy trying to defend himself on Twitter.
However, the Chetan Bhagat-Ira Trivedi case may be a big body blow to the Indian #MeToo movement. As it turns out, Ira had continued communicating closely with Chetan Bhagat sending him intimate mails and inviting him as the solo guest for personal book launches, long after he allegedly sexually harassed her. Ira Trivedi had earlier alleged that Chetan Bhagat wanted to "plant a kiss on her lips" which she "ducked". Though there was no physical assault, it was clearly harassment with no regard to her consent.
Her story was carried in a leading magazine in India and she even tweeted out her story.
However, the storm intensified when Chetan Bhagat outed an email written by her where she is sending a kiss to him, clearly pointing out to a more intimate and comfortable relationship between the duo.
Here's the email put out by Chetan Bhagat below.
So who wanted to kiss whom? @iratrivedi’s self-explanatory email from 2013 to me, esp last line, easily shows her claims from 2010 are false, and she knows this too. This mental harassment of me and my family has to stop. Please don’t harm a movement with #fakecharges #harassed pic.twitter.com/SWeaSCfHLd— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 15, 2018
Chetan Bhagat also slammed the Outlook India report saying that Ira Trivedi also continued to invite him to events that was hosted by her and more importantly he was the chief guest and the only one to be on stage with her. Here is his tweet.
Shame on media like @outlookindia who carried a fake charges story without even checking with me. They could have easily checked on YouTube that I launched her book in 2015/16. Who calls their harasser as chief guest for their book launch? Video here: https://t.co/g6uIOVLjeS— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 15, 2018
A number of people were quick to point out that Ira Trivedi's case seems to be a misuse of the #MeToo hashtag, an allegation that has been the bane of this movement with several people claiming that frivolous or false accusations cause more harm than good to an important discussion on sexual harassment at the workplace.
Here's what author Koral Dasgupta tweeted after seeing Chetan Bhagat's tweet.
#MeToo misused!— Koral Dasgupta (@KoralDasgupta) October 15, 2018
If this mail is true, I seriously wonder what kind of woman is she who can use such an important movement to her personal advantage
Creepiness doesn't change with gender. What is offensive offends, whoever it comes from.
Plug out, everyone, who is in it for fun! https://t.co/mX1q2BeOuc
As per the present status of Chetan Bhagat - Ira Trivedi case, this seems to be the opinion as per the tweets of Indian feminazi.— Koral Dasgupta (@KoralDasgupta) October 15, 2018
This is such an insult to #MeToo. God knows where Indian feminism is headed under such leadership pic.twitter.com/JVTzxWYNoA
There are several messages about Ira and Chetan doing the rounds and several more being written as we speak. But that is not the point. Nobody would send such intimate emails and more importantly, invites their harassers for book launches and sit beside them at public and media events.
Perhaps it is time again to rethink the anonymous #MeToo allegations that have been levelled against men like Sacred Games writer Varun Grover and T Series head honcho Bhushan Kumar.
Should they be assumed guilty before the due process of law or should they be given the benefit of the doubt or most importantly....should they be considered innocent until proven guilty?