The Wire Apologises For Platforming Vinod Dua’s Show Trivialising #MeToo Allegation
The Wire had faced severe criticism for allowing Vinod Dua to trivialise sexual harassment on his show Jan Gan Man ki Baat.
The Wire on Saturday, issued a statement apologising for its handling of the sexual harassment charges against Vinod Dua. After Dua had been accused of sexual harassment by filmmaker Nishtha Jain, he had referred to the allegation as ‘keechad‘ on his show Jan Gan Man ki Baat.
Dua had said on episode 318 of his show, “Mujh per bhi woh kichad uchhala gaya hai, ek aisa kichad, sexual harassment ka toh nai hai… pareshan karne ka (Dirt has been flung at me as well, not of sexual harassment but of troubling).
The statement issued by The Wire read, “In the wake of the #MeToo movement, which The Wire has vigorously reported on and supported editorially because sexual harassment is one of the major problems of our times, an allegation of sexual harassment was made against one of our consulting editors, Vinod Dua. He has been anchoring the popular video show, Jan Gan ki Baat, four times a week, from Tuesday to Friday, since 2017.”
The Wire said that since no formal complaint was received by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) despite reaching out to Jain on October 15, the decision was taken to air the show. On October 17, an external committee was set up with the consent of the Jain, to investigate the allegation.
During the show, Dua had also ‘given’ The Wire one week’s time to conclude the investigation, announcing that he would be suspending his show for that duration. However, The Wire has now clarified that Dua’s show will remain suspended for the entire duration of the external committee’s investigation.
The Wire also said that it does not support Dua’s dismissal of the #MeToo movement and does not endorse the “keechad” remark, “It would be unfair and inaccurate to suggest this movement in general is about mudslinging. Such a view runs totally counter to The Wire’s editorial position. His programme went up without any editorial filter and was a major failure of oversight at our end. Some comments he made at the start of the programme about the MeToo movement as a diversion were edited out later, as soon as they were brought to our notice.”
The statement clarified that The Wire sees the sexual harassment allegation against Dua as sexual harassment, and not just ‘pareshani’ as Dua dubbed it.
Journalist Vinod Dua was first accused by filmmaker Nishtha Jain of sexually harassing and stalking her in 1989.
On Friday, journalist and documentary filmmaker Sunita Thakur also accused Dua of sexual harassment. In an article published in Scroll, she wrote that Dua had promised her a job at Newsline in 1986 and while there was no formal interview, “I remember driving that late afternoon, along Aurobindo Marg by INA market, his left arm around my shoulder, his right on the steering wheel, his singing romantic Hindi songs. I remember taking his arm off my shoulder and saying, “I think this belongs to you.” He wondered why I was being so coy, after all “English girls had a reputation.””
She alleges that during the same conversation, Dua had, either implicitly or explicitly, conveyed that ““our separate rooms” when traveling could also become a double when Vinod wished it to be.” She says that when he dropped her off, she declined the job.
Dua has denied the allegation, saying that he does not even know Thakur. He had responded, “As you may be aware, The Wire has constituted a committee to look into the other allegation, you refer to. In the circumstances, I do not consider it appropriate to say much more at this stage. There does, however, appear to be an effort to target my program Jan Gan Man ki Baat on The Wire, which has, for the last more than one-and-a-half years, confronted the hightest and the mightiest in the land.”
Read The Wire‘s full statement here.