It was a little more than a year ago, in October 2018, when the comedian, Utsav Chakraborty, who had appeared in several sketch videos for the comedy collective All India Bakchod (AIB), was accused of sending sexually explicit messages to several women. The woman ‘outing him’ shared screenshots of their conversation where it was indicated that Utsav had sent her an unsolicited picture. She also went on to share numerous screenshots of her conversations with other women who had come forward and told her how Utsav did the same to them.
Utsav denied the allegations, particularly the ones about him sending explicit messages a minor. The justification he issued in his own Twitter thread revolved around his health conditions and how pain medication made him hazy, which made him behave in that way. Naturally, this did more harm than help, and brought an whole new onslaught of outrage.
"Why would so many women lie about one person?"
In the next few tweets, I will tackle all the malicious insinuations and abject falsehoods put forth on me either by @AGirlOfHerWords or the media frenzy that followed. Stay tuned.— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
The Twitter thread allegedly exposing the comedian didn’t start the #MeToo wave in India per se, it did set into motion an avalanche of accusations and justifications on Twitter that shook everyone to the core. It was the beginning of the end of Utsav’s comedic career, as well as AIB and a bunch of other members of the comedy circuit, as more skeletons began tumbling out of the closet.
To summarize the conversation, the clip goes back and forth where the woman mentions screenshots, that Utsav has been assumed of circulating that prove his innocence. The comedian goes on to add how the accuser’s act has cost him his professional and personal life. Things escalate to a point wherein the woman demands an apology from Utsav, and states that there will be dire consequences if he releases any such material that hampers the woman’s image.
Twitter is now outraged for having tried and convicted the comedian a year ago.
And before I begin, I would like to put out a public service announcement to anyone who approached Mahima Kukreja with false or malicious information about me. If you did this, please apologize or at least explain yourself publicly as to why you did what you did.— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
The tweets came a day after an unverified YouTube user called “EXPOSE MAHIMA” shared two viral audio clips, purportedly a conversation between Chakraborty and the woman who first accused him of inappropriate behaviour, Mahima Kukreja.
The latter’s lawyer-sister Mansi, who is also said to be a part of the conversation, is allegedly heard threatening Chakraborty with court action if he “leaks certain screenshots” of Mahima.
While the clip sows seeds of doubt in the minds of those who believed the accuser's story last year, Utsav has also written a Twitter thread, explaining how he tracked down a few of the women who had accused him and got them to admit that their allegations weren’t entirely true.
After the events of 4th October 2018, a lot of people had blocked me. Either out of disgust or to convey a collective solidarity for the women who I allegedly harassed. I assumed she too must've been feeling the same and did what she did.— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
So I did some snooping around my saved screenshots and realized that this person's handle was 'Chanzpapi' on Instagram and also that the contents of the screenshot preceded an explicit photo from her. Following which I tracked her on Facebook and confronted her. pic.twitter.com/szOokYBRSK— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
Can't debate the authenticity of her explanation but I'll let her have the benefit of the doubt. @chanya_jaitly further agreed to put up a public apology. So everyone reading this: DO NOT ADMONISH/BELITTLE/HARASS HER. She made a mistake. She is owning up to it. Let. Her. Be.— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
A lot of people are pointing out that since I apologized already, I admitted to every awful thing that I was accused of. It wasn't a real admission. I did it because I felt like I had no choice. I had no lawyers, no PR team to guide me. That's why I deleted it later.— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 22, 2019
In the concluding tweet, he once again pleads to people that since one of the women were now apologising publicly, they shouldn’t be harassed for whatever happened in the past.
Reiterating. Do not harass anyone mentioned by me here. Perhaps they were naive and were afraid of going against the narrative, or felt guilty about consenting in retrospect. They might have also felt like they were contributing to the greater good. We'll never know.— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 22, 2019
India's #MeToo movement gripped momentum when Indian actress Tanushree Dutta accused Bollywood veteran Nana Patekar of sexual misconduct. Many popular celebrities were accused of sexual harassment later. Ustav Chakraborty's AIB fellows, Tanmay Bhatt and Gurisman Khamba were eventually wither demoted or removed from the organisation.
Comedy group earlier this year announced that Gursimran Khamba will no longer be involved with the company and Tanmay Bhat will step down from the post of CEO. Last year, Khamba and Bhat, the co-founders of the comedy quartet, distanced themselves from the comedy group, which is battling allegations of sexual harassment against its members.