New Delhi: Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary on Tuesday said that even Parliament was not immune to 'casting couch' and urged that India should stand up and also say #MeToo.
"It is not just in the film industry. It happens everywhere and it is the bitter truth. Don't imagine that Parliament is immune or other workplaces are immune to it. It is time that India stood up and said #MeToo," she told ANI.
It is not just in the film industry. It happens everywhere & it is the bitter truth. Don't imagine that Parliament is immune or other work places are immune to it. It is time that India stood up & said 'Me Too': Renuka Chowdhary, Congress on Saroj Khan's remark on Casting couch. pic.twitter.com/bDekV48xEB
— ANI (@ANI) April 24, 2018
She was responding to Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan's remark on the casting couch. Defending the 'casting couch culture, Khan said on Tuesday that the film industry "at least" provided jobs and did not abandon women after raping them.
In comments that come in the wake of the #MeToo campaign which calls out sexual offenders, she put the onus on the woman and said the casting couch was not a new phenomenon with "anyone and everyone", including people in the government, indulging in it.
The 69-year-old choreographer made the remarks in response to a question from a journalist in Sangli on Telugu actor Sri Reddy stripping in protest against the casting couch culture in the Telugu film industry.
"This has been happening since time immemorial. Anyone and everyone tries to get cozy with every girl. Even people in the government do it. Why are you after the film industry? At least the industry provides employment. It is not as if you are raped and abandoned," she said, PTI reported.
Khan added that the onus of staying safe and avoiding such situations was on women and pressed the media not to target the film industry. "It's upon the girl - what does she want to do? If you don't want to be caught, you won't. When you are an artist, why will you sell yourself? Don't say anything about the film industry. It's like our mother-father," she said.
Last year, Hollywood spoke out against sexual misconduct after disclosures about media mogul Harvey Weinstein. The incident had a domino effect, with many questions being raised about sexual harassment and abuse at the workplace, particularly the entertainment industry.
(With Agency inputs)