Anu Malik has reportedly left reality show Indian Idol. IANS quoting a source from producers Sony TV as saying that he is “stepping down as a judge from the show”.
In a Bombay Times interview, Malik has claimed that he has “taken this decision voluntarily” and will take a “three-week” break from the show.
The news comes a few days after the singer posted a statement on social media denying the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been levelled against him.
“I have taken this decision voluntarily. I want to take a three-week break from the show and get back to it only after I have cleared my name. While the channel has been supportive, it’s solely my decision to take this break. All I want to say is that before jumping to a conclusion, it’s important to hear the other side as well.”Anu Malik, Singer
Malik has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, including singers Sona Mohapatra, Shweta Pandit and Neha Bhasin, who called him out last October when the #MeToo movement hit Bollywood. He has previously bowed out of the show following the allegations but was reinstated as a judge for season 11 of the reality show in May.
National Commission for Women Issues Notice to Sony TV
The National Commission for Women on Thursday, 21 November, issued a notice to Rohit Gupta, President of Sony Entertainment Television. The committee tweeted that it has taken “suo-motu cognizance of a Twitter post shared by Sona Mohapatra wherein it’s alleged Sony TV has ignored testimonies of multiple women against a person regarding sexual harassment and made him (Anu Malik) a judge for a talent show for youngsters on national television.”
Hope Sony Issues a Public Apology, Says Sona Mohapatra
Sona Mohapatra has been vocal in her campaign to appeal to Sony TV to remove Malik from the show. In an Instagram post dated 7 November, she emphasised that though several women had come forward with their #MeToo stories about Anu Malik, they have been ignored and accused of trying to seek publicity. She said that Sony was encouraging this sort of victim blaming by continuing to have Malik as a judge on the show.
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Not one or two or three or four. Many women came forward with their #India #MeToo stories. Were we all part of some secret conspiracy society or had anything to gain by calling out this one guy? You ignored all these women & their stories of sexual assault & predation @sonypictures @sony @sonytvofficial ?? This depravity is what u promote & encourage in a country where women already hold the shorter end of the stick in all regards when you make Anu Malik a judge in your show #IndianIdol . @VishalDadlani @nehakakkar @adityanarayanofficial show some spine. This is your chance to do the right thing & show that everything is not about money & fame. #India do not let these powerful rich conglomerates ruin our society & culture, they would never dare to do anything like this in the US or UK. #callforchange
She also tweeted to Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani asking for her support.
Speaking to Firstpost Sona Mohapatra said that she believes this letter to Irani “was the final nail”. “I hope Sony TV shows the grace of issuing a public apology for hiring a person without any due process or enquiry into the allegations against him (sic),” she said.
Malik Publicly Addresses Allegations for the First Time
On 14 November, Anu Malik broke his silence on the allegations against him in a statement posted on Twitter.
He wrote that he was “waiting for the truth to surface on its own” and that his silence has been misconstrued as weakness. “Why wasn’t this spoken about before? Why do these allegations resurface only when I am back on television, which is currently my only source of livelihood?” he added.