MeraNews Network, New Delhi: Former journalist and current union minister MJ Akbar, who was accused of sexual harassment by at least 11 female journalists in what is being termed as India’s #MeToo movement, has filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, who was among the first ones to call him out for his predatory behaviour. He filed the suit in Delhi’s Patiala House Court through his lawyers Karanjwala and Co. The case will be heard on Tuesday.
Akbar had released a statement on October 14 regarding the accusations leveled against him after returning from an official visit to Nigeria. He claimed that the allegations by Ramani have caused humiliation to him and that he would contest the charges through legal means. In his statement, Akbar said that the allegations are a sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe that has been built around something that never happened.
Ramani had in 2017 mentioned about the incident in an article published in Vogue magazine but didn’t name Akbar in it back then. But on October 8, after several women had begun to talk about the harassment they had faced from the hands of several prominent men from the entertainment, comedy and media industry, she took to Twitter and posted the link again, this time naming Akbar in the caption as the person talked about in the article and had sexually harassed her.
The Indian version of #MeToo, a movement that had a year ago started in the United States where women called out prominent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for sexually harassing and assaulting them and led to his ouster and prosecution, hit off when former actress Tanushree Dutta accused actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment. The tide rose after a comedienne called out fellow comic Utsav Chakraborty for sending women pictures of his genitalia and asking them to send their nude pictures too.
My statement pic.twitter.com/1W7M2lDqPN— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 15, 2018
In her statement, Ramani has said that she is ready to fight allegations of defamation and absolute truth would be her defense for it.