Actor Radhika Apte said sexual abuse is not limited to women in the film industry as she knows a lot of men who been subjected to misdemeanour.
Recently, Hollywood witnessed the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which has put the spotlight on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. Names such as Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Brett Ratner, among others have also joined the infamous list.
In Bollywood, Irrfan Khan was the first actor to come forward and share his story of how he was asked to compromise for work in his struggling days.
Radhika said as “more and more women” are opening up about their experience, it is important to have a platform where complaints can be addressed.
“Not just women, men also go through sexual abuse. I am specifically talking about the industry; I know a lot of men who have gone through this as well. It’s high time this comes out,” Radhika told PTI in an interview.
“Also, as the industry becomes more open and people from different parts come here – not just for people from their own production house or family – it’s more important that we have a platform,” she said.
The “Phobia” actor said it is both “sensitive” and a “grey” topic and more transparency is needed to curb sexual misconduct.
“People who exploit their power and abuse others need to be revealed. On the other hand, people are ambitious and are ready to do what is required. It needs to work from both the sides,” said Radhika.
“You need to learn to say no and need to recognise when you’re being exploited. You will get your due, according to your talent. At some time. Some people come here running away from home; they have nothing to fall back on. A better organisation, rules and transparency will help a lot,” she said.
Asked if there is a fear among people within the industry to name the perpetrators, Radhika agreed, saying, “The fear is there because we still have this culture where Bollywood is considered to be this inaccessible magical place. But it’s not, it’s a workplace. Work ethics need to be introduced at every level. That’s happening. But people have to come out and start taking names.”
She adds, “The fear also comes from ‘Who is going to believe me? The other person has so much power, my complain will go unnoticed, that’ll ruin my career’. That’s the perception. I think more need to people speak up.”
The actress will soon be seen on MTV’s digital show “Fame-istan” as a mentor to young filmmakers.
To be aired on November 24, the show aims to give a platform to four aspiring filmmakers to make a short film and being mentored by the industry veterans.