Actor Radhika Apte says 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 says as “more and more women” are opening up about their experience, it is important to have a platform where complaints can be addressed.
“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 tells 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 says.
The Phobia actor says 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,” says 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 says.
Several Hollywood celebrities, including names such as Olivia Munn, Natasha Henstridge, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, recently called out the alleged offenders. Asked if there is a fear among people within the industry to name the perpetrators, Radhika agrees, 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 actor 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.