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This (Male) Actor Says #MeToo Is 'Mostly For Publicity, Don't Take Seriously'

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Male actors continue to make poor responses when asked to comment on the #MeToo stories shared by survivors.

Today, Asrani dismissed the many accounts - some very disturbing - of alleged harassment, assault and rape as 'mostly for publicity, part of film promotions' and shouldn't be taken seriously, reports news agency ANI. He failed to name the films he thinks the women who have come forward are promoting - he would find it difficult to do so, in fact, because the answer is: none. Asrani, who goes professionally by the mononym, joins a list of actors headed by Salman Khan - and which until today also included Amitabh Bachchan - who have been criticised for their comments on the #MeToo movement.

Everything about India's #MeToo moment

"Don't take this seriously," Asrani added (Image courtesy: ANI) "Don't take this seriously," Asrani added (Image courtesy: ANI)

This is what Asrani, 77, said: "I support women, everyone should, but all this is mostly for publicity, part of film promotions and nothing else. Mere accusations mean nothing, don't take this seriously," ANI reports.

  

Two weeks ago, Tanushree Dutta renewed a decade-old allegations of harassment against Nana Patekar who, she claims, behaved inappropriately while shooting a 2008 film and then sent goons to intimidate her when she rejected his alleged advances. While several celebrities, mostly female, spoke or tweeted in her support, some male actors were criticised for their comments. Salman Khan claimed he was 'not aware' when asked about the controversy. Shakti Kapoor, who was accused of asking for sexual favours in exchange for film work some years ago, flippantly said that he was 'just a kid back then' - he would have been 56 in 2008.

Amitabh Bachchan, who first prompted outrage by refusing to comment on the Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar controversy, today said that "No woman should ever be subjected to any kind of misbehaviour, or disorderly conduct; especially at her work place. Such acts should immediately be brought to the notice of concerned authorities, and corrective measures be taken, either through filing complaints or a recourse to law."

Tanushree Dutta, who has now filed complaints with the police and the women's commission, triggered an avalanche of #MeToo stories, including writer-producer Vinta Nanda's shattering account of being brutally raped 19 years ago, allegedly by actor Alok Nath, against whom more accusations have emerged.

Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, singer Kailash Kher and others from showbiz and media have also been accused of predatory behaviour.

All these men have defended themselves. Nana Patekar has sent Tanushree Dutta a legal notice demanding she apologise; Alok Nath's lawyer says the actor will sue Vinta Nanda for defamation; Vikas Bahl has also sent his former Phantom Films partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane legal notices alleging defamation; Kailash Kher told news agency IANS, "I am almost all the time in my own simple world, but in case anyone has taken or thought something differently about anything, then it is my sincere apology. My devotion to music makes me who I am and I am thankful for all the love and support."

(With ANI and IANS inputs)

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