Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal on Monday wrote to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur seeking the ouster of filmmaker Sajid Khan from reality show Bigg Boss over allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by several women during the #MeToo movement.
The first episode of Bigg Boss' 16th season aired on October 1. The show is hosted by actor Salman Khan.
"Ten women had accused Sajid Khan of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement. All these complaints show the disgusting mentality of Sajid. Now, this man has been given a place in Bigg Boss, which is wrong. I have written to @ianuragthakur to have Sajid Khan removed from this show," Maliwal said in a tweet.
In her letter to Thakur, the DCW chief said it is unfortunate that Sajid Khan is participating as a housemate in the new season of Bigg Boss.
"As the complaints against him reveal, it appears that Khan has acted as a sexual predator for a long time. Clearly, it is inappropriate for an alleged sexual offender such as Sajid Khan to be included in a primetime show which is watched by adults and children alike.
"This apparently gives him an undue opportunity to whitewash his wrongs and be re-launched amongst Indian audiences," she said.
While there is a public outcry against Khan's inclusion in the show, Maliwal said, the makers of the show are refusing to remove him as they apparently gain TRP ratings and viewership due to the ensuing controversy. "The allegations against Sajid Khan are extremely serious in nature and should be investigated at the earliest. Under no circumstances such alleged sexual offenders should be promoted on national television and OTT platforms," she said.
Maliwal said Sajid Khan's inclusion in the show underlines that men who enjoy clout in the entertainment industry easily get away with abusive acts without facing any consequences.
"It also disrespects and invalidates those women who spoke out against his inappropriate sexual advances. They are upcoming celebrities in Bollywood and risked their careers to come forward and complain against abuse by an authority figure," she said.
Maliwal requested Thakur to intervene in the matter and take necessary action to ensure Sajid Khan's removal from the show.
"It is important for the government to take a stand in the matter and support the vulnerable in this situation," she said. Sajid Khan was suspended for a year by the Indian Film and Television Directors' Association (IFTDA) in 2018 after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
Earlier that year, he also stepped down as director of "Housefull 4" and was replaced by Farhad Samji.
On Wednesday, Maliwal shared in a tweet that she was getting 'rape threats' after her sought Khan's ouster from Bigg Boss 16. She also shared screenshots of threats she has been receiving.