The #MeToo movement is a lot of things. It’s a revolution, a revelation, a moment of truth, empowerment. But amongst all these and other things, #MeToo is also an education about what constitutes sexual harassment, assault and misconduct. Because we all know how blurry the definitions are. This education—about consent, choice and boundaries—is so relevant in today’s times, not just for men but also for women.
Last night, in a statement that had most people rather shocked, comedian Kaneez Surka called out her fellow comedian Aditi Mittal for forcefully kissing her on the mouth during a live comedy show.
Surka tweeted a statement detailing what had happened during a show two years ago, before an audience of some 100 people and several other comedians.
“It left me humiliated, shocked and completely stripped of choice. Every person is entitled to choice and boundaries and she violated mine.”
Surka went on to reveal that when she reached out to her a year ago, Aditi apologised at first but then turned hostile.
Aditi’s active rallying for the current #MeToo wave prompted Surka to approach her again and seek a public apology, which she said would suffice as her closure.
Here’s her complete statement.
Twitter errupted in shock and didn’t take a moment’s pause to call out the hipocrisy in Aditi’s stand on the #MeToo movement, where she has even called out fellow comedians like Utsav Chakraborty and other accused.
#MeToo #MeTooMovement #MeTooIndia
Good and thanks that you came up with your story. Its a reality too, but "girls doing to girls", people don't tend to believe and rather laugh at. But its creepy and the saddest part, opening up is more tough when its against same gender. https://t.co/ZBidvZ7kVs
— RajaShree (@defiantsunflowr) October 11, 2018
— Hata (@Brahmachaari) October 10, 2018
— Soumyadipta (@Soumyadipta) October 11, 2018
Feminism does not "just target men". https://t.co/fPD7QfgL7V
— Shromona Jana (@JanaShromona) October 10, 2018
— Anuradha Sridhar (@anuradhasridhar) October 11, 2018
In response, Aditi Mittal has finally tweeted an apology, clarifying that the kiss was not at all sexual in its intention.
Though she concurs on the kiss happening, she insists it was merely a peck on the lips, as opposed to Surka’s description of it involving some tongue. Further, she also drops a hint about their discussion about it a year ago, dropping a hint about their stance on the ‘rampant sexism in AIB’.
People’s reactions to Aditi’s apology are rather mixed.
While some are upholding the statement for being heartfelt and exactly how tactful an apology ought to be, others are again pointing out the double standards in it. Their point? If a man had tried to discredit the accuser by saying it was ‘just a peck’, he would have been shamed for it and for the apology as well.
THIS, is an apology. THIS. https://t.co/OuMfR66lkx
— Priyanka Nazareth (@PriyankaN997) October 11, 2018
Some are even questioning the consequences of such misconduct, and how they differ for the accused men as opposed to an accused woman.
I understand she had apologised for it b4 and now publicly. Gr8! But looking at what have been the consequences for other comics, it seems unfair that an apology should suffice. @thetanmay who did not even abuse/harass any1 has stepped down for not calling it out. It seems unfair https://t.co/OYn8RnBCVp
— Anmol Jain (@anjain911) October 11, 2018
And then this. How do we navigate through this rotten mess of apologies?Everybody wants to apologize. Everybody is sorry.
Everyone is holier than thou.
How does one navigate through this mess? https://t.co/pmFFf0qEja
— Prashaste Sinha (@PrashasteSinha) October 10, 2018
So what does this mean? Clearly it means that in the education that a movement like #MeToo gives to people, there’s still a lot to learn and understand.